Some good news to share:
Chileans have stopped Monsatano from selling its genetically-modified seeds in their country -- and their protests have been part of a global effort that has proven more widespread and effective than anything ever attempted before. Monsatano’s own spin team has found no way to avoid admitting that in late May, almost six months before the worldwide March Against Monsanto scheduled for Oct. 12, 2013. Monsatano’s share price has recently dropped below $100, and is not expected to recover in the face of "extreme negative sentiment" and unfavorable press that “continues to accelerate.”
Monsatano doesn't plan to apply for the approval of new genetically modified seeds in Europe due to low demand from farmers and stiff opposition from the general public, the U.S. agricultural company's German spokeswoman reported.
“As long as there's not enough demand from farmers for these products and the public at large doesn't accept the technology, it makes no sense to fight against windmills,” Ursula Luettmer-Ouazane said, confirming a report in Berlin-based German daily TAZ newspaper.
Ms. Luettmer-Ouazane said, however, “this is nothing new, as Monsanto hasn't applied for growing modified plant varieties in Europe for the past two or three years. It's obvious that Europe needs more time, while other regions have embraced our concepts more readily”, she said.
Europe currently accounts for only roughly 12% of Monsanto's global sales of around $13.5 billion. The St. Louis, Missouri-based agricultural company raised its full-year outlook earlier this week for the second time in less than two months, mainly on continued demand for corn seeds and herbicides.
However, public protests in Europe have continued to hamper the company's situation in countries like Germany. Eight national governments in the European Union have already banned Monsanto's MON810 maize and other forms of genetically modified crops in Europe. Germany banned MON810 in 2009. Currently, the corn is only grown in Portugal, Spain and some Eastern European countries.
Monsanto's rivals, most notably Bayer AG's CropScience unit, Syngenta and BASF, have already largely pulled out with genetically modified crops from markets like Germany, as most consumers remain skeptical about the use of these organisms. BASF announced in January it has given up seeking approval for genetically modified potatoes in Europe, after concerted opposition from consumers, farmers and lawmakers.
Monsanto currently finds itself at the center of several public relations battles. Last week, US officials announced they discovered herbicide-resistant wheat on an 80-acre farm in Oregon. The U.S. Department of Agriculture said the wheat found in Oregon fields was the same strain as a genetically engineered or genetically modified, herbicide-resistant wheat tested by Monsanto between 1998 and 2005, which was never approved.
As a result, the European Union told its member states to test imports from the area, while South Korean millers said they would suspend purchases.
In other related news, Merck has halted sales -- at least in the USA -- of the notorious cattle-fattening drug Zilmax, largely in response to Tyson Foods' decision not to buy Zilmax-raised cows.
Is there more? Yes. In another crucial move to free its people from the grip of Big Pharma, the government of India has rejected a request from Roche Pharmaceuticals to patent its breast cancer drug Herceptin, and is apparently poised to adopt a policy of refusing all patent requests from major synthetic drug companies, thereby encouraging Indian medical researchers to develop remedies that will be not only safer, but far more affordable as well. Can we dare to dream now of Ayurveda to the Rescue, and a whole sale rejection of poisonous pharmaceuticals in favor of traditional, natural medicines? Perhaps.
In another recent event more closely related than it may appear to India's new actions in relation to unsafe pharmaceuticals, the Indian government has granted personhood to dolphins. Granted, this status is "non-human," but nevertheless of crucial importance in affirming "the unique intelligence and self-awareness of the cetacean order." India's Ministry of the Environment and Forests has also outlawed captive dolphin shows, endowing these magnificent animals with a new dignity that should extend to all creatures on this earth.