Robert Fraley, the number two of Monsanto, got the World Food Prize, together this year with professor van Montagu from Ghent University and Mary-Dell Chilton from Syngenta. He comes to Ghent on November 12th for a party on the occasion of ‘ thirty years of biotechnology ‘, organized by the Flemish Institute for Biotechnology (V.I.B.). Below an official address which philosopher Lieven De Cauter will read on that day on the protest party on De Kouter, in Ghent.
Mister Fraley, first of all, congratulations with your award. Your price is a price for Monsanto, that … sponsors the price. Well done. It fits into a long tradition of conflict of interest. You are the champion of the Roundup Ready seeds, such as Roundup Ready soybeans and Roundup Ready corn. The tying of the seeds and the corresponding Roundup accounts for half of sales of Monsanto. Impressive. Congratulations!
Monsanto has already been repeatedly prosecuted for deceptive advertising, saying that Roundup is biodegradable and non-toxic for humans and the environment. In reality Roundup depletes the soil and weeds become resistant, so one must always use ever more Roundup. Good for you! In Columbia and around the world Roundup is spread in very high concentrations with aircrafts across the fields, with the result that fish and other animals die in large numbers. People are poisoned, get lung diseases, skin problems and digestive problems, or often just to die. Especially children. As Silvino Talavera, from Paraguay, who did some course with his bike when he was sprayed with Roundup. He did not survive. Pitty.
Your GMO soy and corn contaminate other fields. With your ‘field police’ you can then sue farmers and force them to buy Roundup products. If the poor farmers can’t pay their debts to Monsanto, their land is confiscated by the agricultural industry and they have to move to slums. Or commit suicide. Community Land is simply snapped up and farmers driven away (as happened in Argentina).
Scientists who are exposing undesirable facts are silenced, as Ignacio Chapela, the Mexican scientist who published in the journal Nature that your corn infects all other corn, that it is unstable and produces monstercorn, or Arpad Pusztai, who said in a BBC interview that the population was used as guinea pigs for a technology which has been insufficiently investigated. They were expertly smeared and then fired. And that there is scientific consensus on GMOs is a lie by the way, strongly contradicted by a recent report by concerned scientists.
In short, you are complicit in deceptive advertising, scientific fraud, harassment of whistleblowers, the suicide of many farmers in India and elsewhere, complicit of a massive attack on biodiversity and of the poisoning of children. Congratulations! But the biggest crime in the long run perhaps is that you have privatized a vital common good of humanity, seeds. I would dare to call that a crime against humanity. Well done, Mr. Frailey! Congratulations with your price.
prof. dr. Lieven De Cauter,
philosopher, KULeuven / VUB (RITS)
more info on the protest event: http://agrobiotechprotestfeest.wordpress.com/
and elsewhere on this blog