As if Monsanto isn’t a big enough giant, they constantly throw money to influence serious legislation! Oh, but this isn’t an act of pretentious altruism for farmers. They have a vulnerable hide to cover if they don’t get their way in seeing that Iowa’s anti-whistleblower farm bill passes into law. Similar to other bills in legislation like the Florida farm photos bill, it’s to keep public scrutiny out by threatening the probing “criminal” with lengthy prison time.
So far, the focus has been on animal cruelty and keeping animal activists from recording questionable behavior in Big Ag operations. But these proposed laws keep all prying eyes out, including anyone who might discover Monsanto’s hand in “crop operations,” their seed houses, research areas, and pesticide manufacturing.
What makes this a real Judas-kiss is that Monsanto pretends to act on the behalf of farmers. Monsanto will make sure you don’t go snooping around, but they will continue to trespass on farms to sample plants so they can sue that farmer for patent infringement if they find GM seed. And yes, there will be provisions in Iowa’s bill to allow Monsanto to trespass and carry out their witch hunt. Don’t you dare try to uncover animal cruelty and “seedy” operations, but Monsanto can continue to pose as undercover land mappers and local fellow AA members to trap unsuspecting farmers.
Speaking of Monsanto, it turns out they are playing a role in Iowa’s proposed anti-whistleblower bill — a bill focused primarily on agriculture. Should the bill pass, it will become illegal to produce undercover videos at various types of agricultural facilities (as well as to get a job at a facility with the express intent of producing a video). Sarah Damian of the Government Accountability Project, a “whistleblower advocacy organization,” observes over at the Food Integrity Campaign’s blog that Monsanto has been throwing lobbying dollars behind Iowa’s effort to draw a steel curtain around food production. And not without reason:
… Monsanto has more facilities in Iowa than in any other state in the country, with more than 25 offices. The company is heavily invested in the bill’s outcome because “crop operations” are also covered, which would apply to Monsanto’s seed houses, pesticide manufacturing plants and research facilities throughout Iowa. The biotech and crop chemical giant wouldn’t want any undercover videos produced on its clock, apparently.
That’s a bit ironic, however, given the fact that Monsanto investigators are notorious for trespassing on farmers’ property and going to extreme measures to produce evidence of seed patent infringement, including posing as land mappers or even joining a local Alcohol Anonymous group to gain the farmers’ trust and gain video access to their fields. Talk about undercover.
And don’t think that Monsanto hasn’t planned ahead. According to Damian, there are provisions in the bill that would allow Monsanto to continue snooping around farmers’ fields in its ongoing search for so-called “seed thieves” aka “patent infringers.”
Despite occasional setbacks and even uncertainty in the marketplace, let it not be said that Monsanto has lost its taste for playing the heavy.
BY TOM LASKAWY