Last weekend I took part in the March Against Monsanto here in Perth.
It was a good turn out for Perth. Between 1500 and 2000 people attended on a day which started at Parliament House, continued with a march through the city and ended up with speeches in Raine Square.
Monsanto are the most unethical company in the world, responsible for the likes of ‘Agent Orange‘ and genetically modified crops which had a variety of negative effects when independently tested on rats.
Monsanto are also responsible for promoting irresponsible use of ‘Round Up’, which we now know is linked with Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Autism, Depression, Cancer and other medical conditions. It’s no surprise then that the local population are resisting Monsanto’s attempts to bully their way into WA’s agriculture industry.
A focus of the rally and one of the key reasons WA had such a large turn out is Steve Marsh. Steve is farmer from Kojonup whose organic farm became infested with GM plants after seeds blew across from a neighbouring farm. Steve lost his organic certification and very nearly his livelihood.
Now Steve is locked in a legal battle with his neighbour (who has received the ‘backing’ of Monsanto) over the issue. If he wins the battle it will establish a world first precedent of responsibility for contamination on the part of GM farmers. This would be a massive blow to Monsanto’s attempts muscle their way into markets which don’t need them, especially here in Australia.
Food safety and the need for clear labelling of foods derived from genetically modified organisms (GMOs) was another key issue at the rally. We don’t know the real risks of long-term exposure to GMOs nor their effect on children or pregnant women. GMOs are simply too new to have been thoroughly tested for long-term effects, yet they are being forced into our diets without even the courtesy to let us know.
Many people like myself are massive supporters of science and sensible genetic experimentation, but do not support anyone screwing with our food supply. Organic foods have been our staple diet since the beginning of time, they are safe, have more nutrients and taste better too.
IF we are going to run human trials, they should be controlled voluntary programs and failing that, at very very least foods derived from GMOs should be labelled so I have the choice and ability to avoid them.
And that brings us to an issue which for me is the very core of the matter. Ending corporate domination of our political institutions and regulatory bodies. Excessively large companies like Monsanto and the big banks have been buying their way out of intelligent, necessary regulations for decades and getting away with it.
It’s the same story as Australia’s coal and iron industries. A small elite have bought up a whole industry and are bullying Australian political figures to avoid regulation. They even managed to roll a sitting Prime Minister when he tried to introduce a super-profits tax which would include the resources sector.
So-called democratic governments are now more influenced by a rich elite than they are by the concerns of the general public. Corporate power is spiralling out of control and it’s time to reign it in. Sometimes that means feat on the street and it seems the people of Perth have decided the fight against Monsanto is one of those times.