(UPDATE: Apparently, this entire thing is false. My statements about Monsanto still stand.)
Salon is reporting on how Monsanto successfully, and anonymously no less, managed to sneak a provision into Agriculture Appropriations Bill — basically the budget for federal spending on farms. This provision does precisely what you would expect a massive, evil corporation would want a provision to do: protect them from fallout caused by their own chicanery. In this case, the little provision is about preventing lawsuits regarding injury caused by GM seeds.
Now, first things first, I am not an enemy of genetically modified food-stuffs. I have almost no doubts about their safeness for human consumption, so this Monsanto Protection Act would likely never be used.1
The much more dangerous possibility, and the one for which I am leery of GMO anything, is ecological damage. While we can test foods on humans, we cannot test organisms on nature. The consequences of a super-plant, which is precisely what GM companies intends to make, when thrown into nature has a much higher probability of being damaging.
Moreover, I am also a hard-core anti-Monsanto fanatic, so potential application or not, I want to stop Monsanto from doing just about anything. There are few corporations that are as demonstrably evil as Monsanto. They are an appalling corporation run by appalling people. We should not be protecting them; we should be dismantling them.
As Salon notes,
“It sets a terrible precedent,” noted the International Business Times. “Though it will only remain in effect for six months until the government finds another way to fund its operations, the message it sends is that corporations can get around consumer safety protections if they get Congress on their side. Furthermore, it sets a precedent that suggests that court challenges are a privilege, not a right.”It’s a terrible precedent that Monsanto will work to ensure becomes as solid as possible.
1: There have been a few scary studies, such as a well-reported one last year involving rats developing tumors. That said, the majority of studies show no issues. That’s not to say there aren’t issues. Indeed, I wouldn't be much surprised if there were, but as it stands, with today’s data, they seem safe. Pesticides are another thing.