Monsanto in trouble while citizens mobilize

In this newsletter: expiration of the glyphosate's licence in Europe, Monsanto Papers scandal, glyphosate residues discovered in foodproducts and thorough investigations about Monsanto's work...

Dear supporter of the Monsanto Tribunal,

The legal opinion of the Monsanto Tribunal has been spread to all corners of the world by social and official media. We have sent the text to a wide range of organizations and legal associations. We have not stopped Monsanto and its toxic business yet – but, of course, no one expected it would be that easy.

However, it has been a major step towards a world without toxic chemicals. Monsanto is in trouble, not only because of the tribunal, but for many reasons: the authorization of Monsanto’s flagship Roundup (and its ingredient glyphosate) is expiring in the EU. People no longer accept damage to their health and sue Monsanto in court. The Tribunal and court cases have been exposing the way Monsanto works, and this helps to inspire others to show the true cost of Monsanto’s business. Films and books are released on this important topic as you can read below. Out in the fields, nature defends itself: more and more weeds are resistant to Roundup! Monsanto’s ‘solution’ to this problem, another very toxic herbicide dicamba – turns out to be a complete failure.

All this indicates that Monsanto’s toxic agriculture and extortion have reached their limits. An ever-growing number of people understand that we can and have to feed the world without poisoning it. A recent UN Report denounced the myth that pesticides are necessary to feed the world. We should reward farmers and not exploit them, we can work with nature instead of waging a war against it.

Please, help us to make that happen: spread the word, help in the different campaigns and donate if you can to make our work possible.


Flagship glyphosate license expiring

The license for glyphosate, active ingredient of Roundup, is expiring in the EU and it has created a huge discussion. Over 1.3 million EU citizens have signed an official request to ban glyphosate, to reform the pesticide approval procedure, and to set EU-wide mandatory reduction targets for pesticide use. In the discussion it has become clear that the report by Food Authority EFSA – based on a report by the German regulatory agency BfR – is not independent and relies heavily on studies by Monsanto and other large companies. The report even copied part of the text from a Monsanto study.
On the 11th of October there will be an official hearing in the EU Parliament. Monsanto has been invited but will not show up, nor will BfR. Soon the EU member states will have to cast their vote for the final decision. One of the largest, France, has previously announced it would vote against the renewal of the license for glyphosate.

Look here for a comprehensive timeline of events in this very important issue.


Monsanto exposed: the Monsanto Papers continued

Over this year, an incredible amount of secret documents from various industries and companies were made public. In March 2017, an American Judge ruled – over Monsanto’s objections – that certain internal documents could be unsealed in the frame the multidistrict litigation glyphosate cancer case. Observers were quick to rename these documents the ‘Monsanto Papers’.

Four months later, a new batch of company records was released. According to Brent Wisner, attorney from one of the many law firms representing thousands of plaintiffs pursuing claims against Monsanto: ‘This is a look behind the curtain –[…] These show that Monsanto has deliberately been stopping studies that look bad for them, ghostwriting literature and engaging in a whole host of corporate malfeasance. They [Monsanto] have been telling everybody that these products are safe because regulators have said they are safe, but it turns out that Monsanto has been in bed with U.S. regulators while misleading European regulators.’

In addition, 100,000 pages of documents (testimonies, unpublished studies, meeting minutes…) obtained through lawsuits against chemical companies and U.S. regulation agencies were collected by environmental activists. They were made publicly available through a project called the Poison Papers. With such documents out, it becomes increasingly ‘difficult’ for companies like Monsanto to deny accusations of concealment, deception or collusion.


Scientific news: glyphosate in Ben & Jerry’s and many more products

Consumers’ groups have been conducting a series of tests with food products in the U.S. Glyphosate was found in many of them, including the famous ‘all natural’ Ben & Jerry’s ice creams, from the company Unilever. The Organic Consumers Association is now pushing the brand to go organic, if it really wants ‘to make the world a better place’ as advertised. Help them and sign their open letter.

Shortly after the OCA, the French organisation Générations Futures conducted tests on food products found in supermarkets and found out that 53% of them contained glyphosate residues. Such results show the pervasive nature of glyphosate-containing herbicides. Combined with the important work of health and environmental organizations, they should carry weight on the debates over glyphosate re-authorization in the EU.

Film Roundup on trial

This new investigation by Marie-Monique Robin – maker of the brilliant documentary The World According to Monsanto – will be broadcast in French and German on ARTE TV channel on October 17th. For several months, the journalist followed Roundup victims and experts from all over the world, revealing a massive health and environmental scandal. Like the trailer, the DVD version will also include English subtitles. Watch the trailer and order your copy in advance.


New books on Monsanto and glyphosate

Roundup on trial is the new book (in French) from Marie-Monique Robin, that comes along with the above-mentioned movie. ‘This provocative book provides an understanding of the mechanisms of one of the greatest environmental and health scandals in modern history. But it also shows that, in the face of the powerlessness or the lack of will of international agencies and governments to end it, civil society is mobilizing.

Another very interesting book on glyphosate and Monsanto was published by Carey Gillam, investigative journalist: Whitewash: The Story of a Weed Killer, Cancer, and the Corruption of Science. ‘Whitewash is more than an exposé about the hazards of one chemical or even the influence of one company. It’s a story of power, politics, and the deadly consequences of putting corporate interests ahead of public safety.’

 

No justice for Monsanto Tribunal witness and whistleblower Shiv Chopra

Dr. Shiv Chopra was one of three Health Canada veterinary scientists who spoke out in the 1990s. He denounced the pressure from their bosses to approve drugs (including the infamous bovine growth hormone rBST), despite concerns about its safety. He accused the federal government of allowing corporations to influence the approval process for veterinary drugs and inadequately protecting the food system. He and his colleagues, Dr. Haydon and Dr. Lambert, were eventually fired in 2004 for insubordination. Unlike Chopra, Haydon and Lambert previously won the right to be reinstated because previous suspensions had been wiped from their records.

Chopra claimed that courts have never considered the actual content of his concerns about Health Canada. ‘If today I had won, I would get compensated for my loss of salary. But the issue of public food safety would still remain.’

After retirement, Chopra founded an organization called the Canadian Council on Food Sovereignty and Health and has been a public speaker and expert witness. He still has concerns about five classes of products used in the food system – hormones, antibiotics, slaughterhouse byproducts used in animal feed, pesticides and genetically modified organisms. ‘The cause and the issue is still there,’ he said.

Read more about that case and watch Dr. Chopra’s testimony at the Monsanto Tribunal.


Bayer-Monsanto merger under investigation

There has been a lot of public pressure on the merger authorities to prevent the Bayer – Monsanto merger. Too much power, bad for farmers and consumers is the general opinion. The EU Commission has now launched an in-depth investigation. However, we should not be too optimistic, for in the past nine out of ten of all mergers were approved.


European Civil Forum publishes brochure about the Monsanto Tribunal

This comprehensive 160-page brochure describes in German and French what happened during the Monsanto Tribunal. It is printed and distributed in Switzerland. If we can raise the necessary funds, we will also make an international version.

Please support our work !

The funds raised to organize the Monsanto Tribunal and the outreach have now come to an end. None of the speakers and witnesses have received any money except travel expenses. Most of the organisation work has been done by volunteers, only a small part of the staff has received a very moderate salary during the preparations. We are proud that we have been able to achieve this very important work with your support!

Now we want to continue, spreading the word. We have some very concrete suggestions:
- We would need €6,000 for the translation of the above-mentioned brochure about the Monsanto Tribunal into English and Spanish.
- We are looking into an international study into the real costs of Monsanto’s business for human health and nature. We want to calculate the damages caused by the company to make sure that those responsible will be held accountable. Such damage should not be swept under the carpet when Bayer and Monsanto merge.

If you like what we do and can afford to make a small or big donation: please support us now!