by Mike Barrett
Even though the state of Vermont is trying desperately to pass a bill which would require GMO foods to be labeled, the state’s efforts are being threatened by biotech giant Monsanto. In retaliation of the GMO labeling bill, Monsanto has threatened to sueVermont if any such bill is passed. Sadly, Vermont elected public officials may surrender to the threats and intimidation brought about by the GMO creator.
Monsanto Threatens Lawsuit Against Vermont for GMO Labeling Bill
The bill, known as the ‘VT Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act’, or H-722, was introduced to the Vermont House of Representatives by Representative Kate Webb of Shelburne on February 1st, 2012. The bill would require the labeling of not only products filled entirely with GMOs, but also for those partially created using GM ingredients. What’s more, GMO food manufacturers using promotional labels such as “natural,” “naturally made,” “naturally grown,” “all natural,” and other similar statements, would be prohibited.
Despite a majority (6 to 5) of Agriculture Committee members supporting passage of the bill, and thousands of people voicing their support for the bill, legislators of Vermont are putting the labeling bill on hold and refusing to take a vote. Legislators are calling for more public hearings on April 12, while only four weeks remain until legislature is postponed.
Of course Monsanto’s tactics are far less than surprising. The GMO giant has been using lawsuits and threats of lawsuits for over 20 years in order to force their unlabeled genetically modified creations on the population. In 1994, Vermont became the first state to require milk and dairy products derived from cows injected with the controversial genetically engineered Bovine Growth Hormone to be labeled. In response to such an action, Monsanto sued in Federal Court. The corporation won on the note that dairy corporations have the first amendment “right” to hide rBGH injection even though the synthetic hormone, now banned in 27 countries, has been shown to increase risks for both breast and gastrointestinal cancer in peer-reviewed research (while also causing severe health damage in cows).
Monsanto has also been using their scare tactics — intimidation and tactical lawsuits on small farmers — in order to force their genetically modified seeds and growth hormones onto these individuals. In fact, between 1997 and 2010, Monsanto actually filed 144 lawsuits against American family farmers. In addition, another 700 were settled out of court for unknown amounts. Monsanto wants more than anything to take out American family farms and dominate the agricultural industry with their own mutant seeds. This is the same kind of practice that Monsanto operates outside of the United States as well, driving thousands of poor farmers to suicide by ruining their family farming practices. Monsanto’s actions have even helped to lead to a farmer suicide occurring every 30 minutes.
So will Monsanto’s bullying actions put a stop to Vermont’s Right to Know Bill? Tens of thousands of people want nothing more than for the bill to pass, but time will tell.