Once more, the big agricultural supplier Monsanto seems to have
decided that the best way to keep its products selling is to control
the flow of information and terrify potential critics with its legal
muscle. In the past, Monsanto has sued dairies that tried to label
their milk free of the recombinant bovine growth hormone it sold, which
boosts cows' milk production, on the grounds that this "misled"
consumers into thinking something was wrong with rBGH. When in doubt,
rough up the farmer and keep the consumer in the dark.
Today, the New York Times
reports that a group of agricultural scientists have complained to the
EPA that Monsanto, Syngenta, and Pioneer Hi-Bred choke off research on
their genetically engineered seed. Scientists cannot study insect
resistance in these plants, for example, without the companies'
As the Times notes, these are scientists
who see value in genetic engineering. Yet they are still being
bullied. I don't understand why these big companies cannot buy better
public relations advice.
So, where is the political leadership in
all this? Everything Monsanto does affects the commons. We all share
this ecosystem. We have a right to know.