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From: "SchNEWS"
To: "SchNEWS Subscribers"
Date: Tue, 16 Jun 1998 16:58:13 +0000
Subject: SchNEWS 171, 12 June 1998


"Through food, chemicals and drugs this malignant tumour of a company seeks to control and pervert our genetic code. The invasion of the gene snatchers has begun." - Corporate Watch

In their quest to control the world (literally) Monsanto have agreed to merge with pharmaceuticals group American Home Products (AHP). The deal is the sixth largest in American corporate history. With a market value of $96 billion, they now command majority control of the life-sciences industry, from maize seed gene patents to genetically mutated soya . Dubbed the 'Microsoft of bio-technology', Monsanto run the world's largest agricultural research and development body, with their main man Robert Shapiro being described as a 'deal a day man'.


Monsanto are now embarking on an open discussion campaign in an effort to appear 'consumer friendly'. They have already been slagging anti-Gen groups in adverts and on billboards across Europe, now in an attempt to persuade us that they have nothing to hide they have taken out ads in the 'liberal' press. Here are some excerpts from a press release published in last Sunday's Observer:

"Genetically modified food is the subject of much heated debate. As a biotechnology company, we firmly believe in it. Of course, we're a business and aim for our shareholders to profit from this technology... our excitement and commitment to food biotechnology stems from the real benefits it provides for both consumers and the environment."

"There are others with less supportive views. Some are openly hostile. It is only fair that you appreciate the spectrum of opinions before making an informed decision. We're about to run an advertising campaign...As well as our views, we will be publishing the addresses and phone numbers of those with different views, including some of our most vocal critics, encouraging you to contact them. This may sound unusual, but we believe that food is so fundamentally important everyone should know all they want to about it."

"Besides the advertising, there are leaflets in many supermarkets and you can call us free on 0800 092 0401 if you have any questions or would like further literature".

(SchNEWS warns all readers NOT to continuously use this freephone number and then leave the reciever off the hook; they only have four operators and you would cost Monsanto a lot of money).

The press release then goes on to say;

"The world grows its food at great cost to the environment. Insecticides, fertilizers and herbicides used in agriculture require scarce resources processed in eco-taxing industrial plants.We believe plant biotechnology can limit industrial and chemical impact on the earth. For instance, we have developed crops that are insect resistant, in some cases eliminating the need to apply insecticides altogether. (We also want you to know that we produce the world's top selling herbicide, Roundup.)"

The release ends: MONSANTO - Food. Health. Hope

SchNEWS, like Monsanto, believe in providing 'information for action', so to save you waiting for their advertising, here are the numbers we think they should be printing (probably).

* Genetic Engineering Network, PO BOX 9656, London N4 4JY
   tel 0181 374 9516 (this no. is for Genetics info)

* For genetics action info on the web check out:

* or

* Genetix Update PO Box 9656 London N4 4JY
   tel 0181 374 0516


"The opportunity is just enormous, we see the value that we can create as several billion dollars" - Monsanto's president.

A fortnight ago, consultants acting for Monsanto wrote to some of Africa's most prominent academics and politicians, inviting them to sign a stirring public statement called "Let the Harvest Begin". It went on to say "Many of our needs have an ally in biotechnology and the promising advances it offers for our future, with these advances, we prosper; without them, we cannot thrive . Slowing its acceptance is a luxury our hungry world cannot afford."

While some responded with outrage, others signed up. Monsanto's name appears in such small print readers could think that the statement is from the the signatories, rather than Monsanto. Monsanto's suggestion that the continent's freedom from famine depends upon it would be hilarious, were it not so sinister. Monsanto's operations can now be numbered among the continent's greatest threats.

The leading edge of Monsanto's new work is not the production of food, but the production of feed: crops, in other words, grown not for humans but for animals. Last month, the company announced a joint venture with the gigantic multinational grain merchant Cargill, to produce and market the seeds of genetically engineered fodder plants, particularly maize. Feed production is a growing component of Third World agriculture, supplying the ever-increasing consumption of meat, eggs and dairy produce in the First World. Growing animal fodder for McCrap food is also one of the reasons for African famine, as land previously used to grow food for local people has been 'acquired' to supply the rich world's luxuries. Much of Africa's most fertile territory is ideal for growing the new, more profitable strains of maize fodder being developed by Cargill and Monsanto.

But this is the least of the ways in which Monsanto threatens Africa. Three months ago, America's Delta and Pine Land Company patented a gene called "Terminator" which ensures that the plants which contain it produce only sterile seeds. Farmers planting these crops, in other words, will be forced to buy new stock every year. The new technology's "primary targets" are, according to the original patent holders, "Second and Third World" countries. Four weeks ago, Monsanto bought the company. If it succeeds in inserting the Terminator into its seed varieties, farmers will be presented with little choice but to buy its non-reproducing seed. Monsanto, in other words, threatens to become the hunger merchant of the third millennium.


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