Why We Protest

Monsanto seeks to limit our rights to self-protection

On Saturday, May 23, Lane County residents will participate in the worldwide March Against Monsanto for World Food Day (see details below). Over 600 cities around the world are scheduling events on that day. The UN has named this the “Year of the Soils” and in Eugene we will hold a march to declare our right to protect and restore the soils upon which our food, the climate, and all life ultimately depends.

We will march because Monsanto and the GMO/agrichemical industry are doing great harm to human and environmental health. We know that only non-chemical, agro-ecological farming practices can provide the soil vitality necessary to sequester CO2 and other greenhouse gasses overheating our planet, and is the only sustainable agriculture to healthily feed the world and afford us food freedom and local food rights.
We will march because we are facing urgent and vital issues right now for our food system in the Oregon Legislature, where the multinational agrochemical/seed industry led by Monsanto is arm-twisting our representatives to limit local food sovereignty and security and our farmers rights to self-protection.

Monsanto has agendas other than our health and that of our planet. Monsanto is pushing our Legislature hard to enact HB 2509 that would force farmers whose crops have been contaminated by GMOs to agree to a mediation process orchestrated by the Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) before they could take legal actions to protect their crops from GMO contamination. If a farmer whose crop had been contaminated did not agree to mediation they could be liable for hundreds of thousands of dollars in attorney fees to a GMO grower they sue.
This bill would put ODA in the position of coordinating a so called “mediation process.” But ODA works closely with the Monsanto-backed organization, Oregonians for Food and Shelter, to defeat any meaningful GMO reform in Oregon and cannot be trusted to conduct an impartial GMO-mediation process. If HB 2509 passes, it would give ODA the power to require an onerous and biased mediation process that handicaps family farmers whose crops are damaged by GMOs trying to hold GMO growers accountable.

Monsanto is also pushing HB 3212 that could undermine Jackson County’s ban on GMOs and would prevent other future local and state laws aimed at protecting family farmers from industrial agricultural practices. HB 3212 also aims at potential limitations on aerial herbicide spraying to protect sensitive crops, pesticide limits aimed at protecting bees and sensitive pollinators, animal welfare laws (such as minimum cage sizes for chickens), and even water conservation laws.

We will march toward a solution, encouraging college students to urge their schools to divest from Monsanto, terminate and refuse Monsanto research grants and cancel Monsanto-endowed faculty positions. We will meet and rally at 1 pm Saturday at Kesey Square, Willamette and Broadway, then march to Alton Baker Park. Bring a picnic and enjoy a day of community action.

For more information or get actively involved, visit http://wkly.ws/20s or contact Aaron Kubat at 606-7773. — Jack Dresser, Ph.D.

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