On May 25, a local group held a protest near where I live to protest Monsanto and GMO foods.
The protest itself, while larger than what I actually expected, wasn't as large as what it could have been, with maybe only about 50 to 60 people attending.
Now about a week before this protest occurred someone was going the area and putting up some posters on lamp post and electric post not only advertising the protest, but also making several claims against both Monsanto and GMO foods.
I've looked into these claims that were made, and this is what I have found:
1. Monsanto fights labeling laws.
This is true [read here] but only to a certain extent, and there are a lot of other companies and groups (including scientists) that oppose these laws because many of them consider them to be unfair, and/or leaves to many loop holes, and many opponents also claim that these laws are really attempts to out right ban GMO foods.
Also, when the people of California were given a chance to vote into law Proposition 37, which would have required labeling of GMO foods, the voters rejected it, so really you can't actually blame Monsanto about that, because when given the chance, the people rejected such laws.
2. Monsanto's propriety and legal actions harm small farmers.
Monsanto has, since the mid-1990's, filled 145 suits against individual US farmers for patent infringement and/or breach of contract in connection with its genetically engineered seed, and while this may sound like a lot, this is actually a very small number in comparison to thousands of individual, independent farmers in the US.
Also, only 11 of these suits actually went to trial, all of which Monsanto won.
3. Scientists' studies show severe damage to GMO-feed animals.
There was a study in 2012 by Gilles-Eric Seralini that claimed to show that rats feed GMO corn increased cancer rates in these rats compared to rats that were not feed GMO corn. This study has been highly criticized for certain unscientific methods (such as the failure to record the amounts of food the rats were feed and their growth rates) and has pretty much been debunked. [read here, here, and here]
4. Monsanto's Agent Orange and DDT contaminate food crops and villagers abroad.
Agent Orange was only used between 1965 to 1970 by the US military in Vietnam (before then they used a herbicide called Agent Blue). Even though this was true, you really can't blame Monsanto because they are not the ones who actually used it. It was various governments around the world who used it. Monsanto (along with Dow Chemical) just made the stuff.
As for DDT, most countries have been banning the stuff since the 1960's for agricultural use, and again, Monsanto is not the only company that made DDT, and it doesn't even make it anymore because of the 1972 US ban.
5. Monsanto falsely advertised it's Roundup as "biodegradable."
In 2007 Monsanto was convicted in France for false advertisement of it's product Roundup as being biodegradable. France is of course the only country that has done this, and some people might even claim that this is the result of France's environmental laws, rather than reality as Glyphosate (the technical name for Roundup) does not bioaccumulate and breaks down rapidly in the environment.
Whether Roundup should be considered biodegradable or not seems to be more of a matter of opinion then fact.
6. Monsanto blocks regulations. It's CEOs are in a revolving door from Monsanto to FDA (ex: Micheal Taylor, current Food Safety Czar).
This is completely false. Micheal Taylor (whomever he is) was never the Food Safety Czar. There has only been one Food Safety Czar, and that was Dr. David Acheson, and he only had that position from 2007 to 2008.
Monsanto can not actually block regulations, all it can do is lobby against laws and regulations that could affect it's business, and there is no "revolving door", so to speak, between Monsanto and the FDA.
7. Consumers rejected Monsanto's Bovine Growth Hormone in milk.
The rejection of BGH in milk is a matter of consumer opinion, and has nothing to do with facts.
8. 400 scientists and 58 countries conclude that organic farming trumps GMO for sustainable, environmental, and healthy agriculture. GM crops do not offer increased yields.
While studies have shown that organic farming, if done correctly, can be sustainable and environmentally friendly. If done incorrectly however the impact on the environment will actually be negative, and organic farming still requires more land than conventional farming.
Also, a crop's yield has nothing to do with whether or not it's a GMO, and has everything to do with the farming techniques used, and studies have shown that organic farming yields are actually less than those of conventional farming yields [read here].
9. Monsanto's control of the soy market results in 90% of soy market being GMO.
If Monsanto actually had control of the soy market then 100% of all soy beans would be GMO, not 90% as being claimed. Plus if farmers did not want to use Monsanto's soy bean seeds, then they don't have to, as there are other companies that sell soy bean seeds.
10. Allergies skyrocketed as GMO soy entered the system.
While food allergies have increased, and soy allergies are one of the more common food allergies, there is no scientific evidence that links GMO crops with the increase in food allergies.
11. Massive aerial spraying of Roundup in Colombia is being used by the U.S. and the Colombian government as a counter-insurgency tactic, contaminating food crops and poisoning villagers.
There has been large aerial spraying of Roundup in Colombia by the Colombian government (although there is no evidence that the U.S. actually is doing this to, and only gives support and training), the main purpose of which is to destroy coca plants (the plant which cocaine is extracted from).
While this has come under scrutiny for damaging legal crops and adverse health effects, the main criticism about the program (called Plan Colombia) has been about the cost and effectiveness.
Despite the fact that Roundup is used in this campaign, it doesn't mean that Monsanto is to blame for any damage done, as they are not the ones' spraying Roundup on these places.