Following the recent passage of a law dubbed derisively by its critics as the 'Monsanto Protection Act', environmentalists and legislators are standing up against the biotech giant and their "dictatorship over seeds, over life, over food and over our freedom."
Calling the legislation "one of the most outrageous special interest provisions in years" in an email to supporters on Sunday, Senator Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) announced his proposal to eliminate the law by offering an amendment to the upcoming farm bill. Describing the outlines of the controversial law in his letter, Merkley explained:
Written anonymously, the Monsanto Protection Act allows corporations to sell genetically-modified (GM) seeds even when federal courts have blocked them from doing so.
Think about that: We have a process for making sure that genetically-modified seeds aren’t sold, planted and grown until we know that they don’t pose a threat to other crops or to humans.
The Monsanto Protection Act overrides that process. It lets Monsanto and others ignore a court order designed to protect other farmers, the environment, and human health.
That's just wrong.
And even worse, the Monsanto Protection Act was passed in secret, stuffed quietly into the budget bill that averted a government shutdown.
That's why I've proposed an amendment to the Farm Bill that would repeal the Monsanto Protection Act. Please join me - and demand a vote in the U.S. Senate that would end this outrageous special interest override of judicial decisions.
The provision, officially known as the Farmer Assurance Provision—which was "stuffed quietly" into the budget bill H.R. 933: Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act—was passed by Congress in March and signed into law by President Barack Obama.
"Federal courts have recently ruled that the U.S. Department of Agriculture had failed to consider the potential harm some genetically engineered crops may have, and acted too hastily in approving their sale," writes the Huffington Post's Ryan Grim. "The industry fought back with the farm bill rider, preventing the enforcement of court rulings."
According to reports, Monsanto was directly involved in crafting the legislation. “These provisions are giveaways, pure and simple," said Sen. John Tester (D-Mont).
A petition in support of the repeal is circulating via Merkley's website.
The call comes ahead of a planned worldwide protest on Saturday during which activists are uniting in a March Against Monsanto.
"The march against Monsanto is inspired by the love for freedom and democracy, the love for the Earth, the soil, the seed," said Dr. Vandana Shiva, Seed Freedom Movement pioneer. "And it is our deep love for life on Earth in freedom that makes all of us march against Monsanto and we stand in solidarity with everyone."
"This dictatorship must end," she adds. "The March against Monsanto is a call to end the dictatorship over seeds, over life, over food and over our freedom."
Below is a video of Dr. Shiva announcing the action (Note that in the video, the date of March 25 is mentioned in error - the correct date of the March against Monsanto is May 25.)