Protesters in Canada, elsewhere march against Monsanto, GMO foods
Thousands across Canada joined others around the world at rallies to decry agricultural giant Monsanto, a company protesters claim behaves unethically in its development and implementation of pesticides and genetically modified foods.
“Millions Against Monsanto” protesters in Toronto also denounced the recent approval of genetically modified salmon in Canadian markets.
“Salmon was approved despite tens of thousands of people standing up in this country and in the U.S. saying that they don’t want it,” said Jodi Koberinski, part of the activist group Beyond Pesticides Canada.
“This is again part of an issue where we’re facing corporate control over the food system and over the rule-making,” Koberinski said.
Monsanto develops and sells a range of seeds genetically tailored to be superior to “natural” crops that have been modified only through selective breeding.
For example, Monsanto sells an herbicide called glyphosate under the name “Roundup,” and also sells seeds genetically engineered to resist glyphosate, which it calls “Roundup Ready” seeds.
A company called AquaBounty developed the salmon many were expressing concerns over. Using genes from other animals, their fish have been modified to grow twice as fast as wild salmon, and will soon be available in Canada.
“It’s the first genetically modified animal to go to market, and it won’t be labelled any differently,” said Rachel Parent, founder of GMO labelling advocacy group Kids Right to Know.
Parent says her group wants mandatory labelling of all genetically modified foods.
“That way people can choose for themselves whether they want to eat it or not,” Parent said.
Though the protesters named one company specifically, they say Monsanto is essentially just the face of what they claim is a culture of corporate greed in the food industry.
“This is an issue that really transcends so many different factors,” said protester Patricia Krumpek. “It’s just basic democracy. People want to know what’s in their food.”
That attitude apparently also transcends borders. The group’s Facebook page highlights marches in the U.S., France, Japan and elsewhere.