A coalition of farmers, activists and citizens has successfully stopped the expansion of a Monsanto seed facility in Malvinas, Argentina. Tired of being poisoned by GMOs, the activists managed to stop construction of the plant by descending on the property in masses and refusing to leave.
“Residents of an Argentinian town have forced one of Monsanto’s half-completed GMO seed plants to be dismantled,” says Christina Sarich, writing for the Underground Reporter.
“Activists have been marching, petitioning, and talking to the government as well as Monsanto for three years now to urge them to disallow the company’s latest expansion — a multi-million dollar, genetically modified seed plant.”
Activists create blockade preventing construction of GMO facility
Monsanto previously tried to gain local support by saying that residents “will be proud to have one of the most important [seed-producing] plants in the world…The more than one thousand employees of Monsanto Argentina are proud and thankful to be a part of the community of Malvinas, Argentina.”
The expansion project was designed to treat 3.5 million hectares of maize, but only 2.5 million hectares were actually sown, leading the biotech giant to pull out of the project.
Residents from Argentina were reportedly ordered by the courts to vacate the Monsanto facility, but they called in reinforcements instead “to strengthen the blockade.”
While the company tried to continue the fight in the courtroom, new concerns raised about the environmental impact of the construction site have derailed those efforts. “There are ongoing lawsuits over the construction site’s environmental impact,” said the Underground Reporter.
Due to past production of harmful products like Agent Orange, the people of Argentina are cognizant of the health and environmental impacts posed by companies like Monsanto, which is responsible for shifting the nation’s beef onto a GM grain diet.
People of Argentina have long history with the biotech industry and its health damaging products
“The news that Monsanto will pull out of their bid to expand GMO seed production in at least one Argentinian town is favorable, considering how long community members and non-GMO activists have been trying to be heard.”
Nearly three years have passed since Monsanto was able to complete any construction on the Malvinas facility, said Sofia Gatica, one of the activists charged with leading the blockade.
“The company is leaving the field but does not yet recognize its defeat in this battle. We talked with those who have to dismantle what remains. We remain on alert and continue blocking, waiting to see what will happen. We want the site to now be devoted to organic and sustainable agriculture.”
The adverse health effects of GMOs
Numerous concerns continue to be raised over the potential health effects of consuming GMOs. Animal studies show “serious health risks associated with genetically modified (GM) food … including infertility, immune problems, accelerated aging, faulty insulin regulation, and changes in major organs and the gastrointestinal system,” according to the Institute for Responsible Technology.
Consumers are (and should be) weary about the effects of eating food that has had its DNA altered with that of another organism. Soybeans, corn, cotton and canola are all GM plants that have foreign genes inserted into their DNA.
“Genetic engineering transfers genes across natural species barriers. It uses imprecise laboratory techniques that bear no resemblance to natural breeding, and is based on outdated concepts of how genes and cells work.
“Gene insertion is done either by shooting genes from a ‘gene gun’ into a plate of cells or by using bacteria to invade the cell with foreign DNA. The altered cell is then cloned into a plant.”
Until the scientific literature comprehensively studies the impact of consuming GMOs, we will never fully understand its implications.