Tag Archives: Monsanto

Bayer Shareholders Vote Against Board over Monsanto Merger

Sustainable Food – Apr 27 2019

Bayer chief executive Werner Baumann was dealt a blow Friday at the German chemical giant’s annual general meeting, amid tensions over last year’s decision to buy US seeds and pesticides maker Monsanto, as disgruntled shareholders voted against management.
Source: AFP

At the AGM in Bonn, 55.5 percent voted against the management board, led by embattled CEO Werner Baumann, with just 44.5 percent of shareholders in favour – a huge drop down from 97 percent support last year.

The result is a slap in the face for Baumann and his management team. Although the vote carries no direct consequences, it is a clear statement by disgruntled shareholders.

Around 500 protesters gathered outside the Bonn conference centre with placards mocking Bayer’s corporate motto “science for a better life” or calling to “stop glyphosate”, the Monsanto-made herbicide at the centre of the group’s woes.

Inside, investors were fuming.

“Bayer has choked on Monsanto,” said Ingo Speich of Deka bank. “The company risks being taken over and dismantled.”

Mark Tuemmler of investors’ federation DSW said 2018 was “a nightmare for shareholders”.

– ‘A scandal’ –

Bayer’s share price fell last year by around 40 percent following its $63 billion takeover of Monsanto in June — the biggest in German history.

At 57 billion euros, its market capitalisation is little higher than the price it paid to acquire Monsanto in the first place.

“A scandal,” Tuemmler said.

Opening the meeting, Baumann acknowledged that some 13,400 US lawsuits relating to glyphosate and initial unfavourable judgements against Bayer “are placing a heavy burden on our company and worrying many people”.

Last year’s share price plunge was driven by the first of two jury rulings so far that have awarded plaintiffs — cancer patients who had been exposed to glyphosate over long periods — $80 million each.

Baumann complained that such decisions had been based on a 2015 finding by World Health Organization arm IARC that glyphosate “probably” causes cancer.

“We remain convinced of the safety of glyphosate,” the CEO said, recalling regulators worldwide found no new evidence that the pesticide causes cancer in reviews prompted by the IARC judgement.

In the two cases already heard, “we remain optimistic that the next higher courts will reach different verdicts,” the CEO added, calling for “decisions based on scientific analysis — and not on emotions”.

The business case for the merger remained as strong as ever, he assured investors, with the merged companies now operating “leading businesses in chemical and biological crop protection, in conventional and biotech seed, and also in digital farming”.

And he reiterated the group’s targets — including its pharmaceutical and over-the-counter medicines units — to increase sales four percent, to 46 billion euros ($51 billion) in 2019, with an operating profit before special items of 12.2 billion euros.

Current market reactions were “exaggerated” and did not reflect Bayer’s “true value”, he said.

SOURCE

How GMO Seeds and Monsanto /Bayer’s “RoundUp” Are Driving US Policy in Venezuela

Mintpressnews – May 6, 2019 – Whitney Webb

With Juan Guaidó’s parallel government attempting to take power with the backing of the U.S., it is telling that the top political donors of those in the U.S. most fervently pushing regime change in Venezuela have close ties to Monsanto and major financial stakes in Bayer.

How GMO Seeds and Monsanto/Bayer’s “RoundUp” are Driving US Policy in Venezuela

CARACAS, VENEZUELA — As the political crisis in Venezuela has unfolded, much has been said about the Trump administration’s clear interest in the privatization and exploitation of Venezuela’s oil reserves, the largest in the world, by American oil giants like Chevron and ExxonMobil.

Yet the influence of another notorious American company, Monsanto — now a subsidiary of Bayer — has gone largely unmentioned.

While numerous other Latin American nations have become a “free for all” for the biotech company and its affiliates, Venezuela has been one of the few countries to fight Monsanto and other international agrochemical giants and win. However, since that victory — which was won under Chavista rule — the U.S.-backed Venezuelan opposition has been working to undo it.

Now, with Juan Guaidó’s parallel government attempting to take power with the backing of the U.S., it is telling that the top political donors of those in the U.S. most fervently pushing regime change in Venezuela have close ties to Monsanto and major financial stakes in Bayer.

In recent months, Monsanto’s most controversial and notorious product — the pesticide glyphosate, branded as Roundup, and linked to cancer in recent U.S. court rulings — has threatened Bayer’s financial future as never before, with a litany of new court cases barking at Bayer’s door. It appears that many of the forces in the U.S. now seeking to overthrow the Venezuelan government are hoping that a new Guaidó-led government will provide Bayer with a fresh, much-needed market for its agrochemicals and transgenic seeds, particularly those products that now face bans in countries all over the world, including once-defoliated and still-poisoned Vietnam.

U.S.-Backed Venezuelan opposition seeks to reverse Chavista seed law and GMO ban

In 2004, then-president of Venezuela, Hugo Chávez, surprised many when he announced the cancellation of Monsanto’s plans to plant 500,000 acres of Venezuelan agricultural land in genetically modified (GM) soybeans. The cancellation of Monsanto’s Venezuela contract led to what became an ad hoc ban on all GM seeds in the entire country, a move that was praised by local farmer groups and environmental activists. In contrast to anti-GM movements that have sprung up in other countries, Venezuela’s resistance to GM crops was based more on concerns about the country’s food sovereignty and protecting the livelihoods of farmers.

Although the ban has failed to keep GM products out of Venezuela — as Venezuela has long imported a majority of its food, much of it originating in countries that are among the world’s largest producers of genetically modified foods — one clear effect has been preventing companies like Monsanto and other major agrochemical and seed companies from gaining any significant foothold in the Venezuelan market.

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New Trial Evidence Suggests Government Colluded with Monsanto

Global Research – Apr 21, 2019 – By Dr. Michelle Schoffro Cook

I once read an interview with legendary fiction writer Stephen King in which he told the interviewer that he simply reads the newspaper to get ideas for his novels, declaring that truth was far scarier than fiction. After reading about the latest development in the lawsuits against Monsanto, I’m inclined to agree with him.

As part of the 3rd cancer trial facing Monsanto (now owned by Bayer AG), new emails were released that showed Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) officials may have colluded with Monsanto to help slow the release of the dangers of the pesticide from the public. According to the documents and testimony, Monsanto apparently asked the government agency to slow down their safety review of the company’s top-selling herbicide, RoundUp. According to the documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, not only did the government agree to slow the safety review, EPA officials also helped the company by giving them consistent updates.

In early 2015, the government agency seems to have started working in conjunction with Monsanto to stall toxicology tests on glyphosate (the main ingredient in RoundUp) conducted by a unit of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

This isn’t the first time that the EPA may have thwarted efforts to keep the public safe from toxic glyphosate and other harmful pesticides. An earlier court case against Monsanto revealed evidence that the Environmental Protection Agency knew glyphosate was a probable carcinogen nearly thirty-five years ago but approved it for use anyway.

Even outside of the alleged collusion, there has been doubt as to whether the EPA has actually been doing enough to protect the public from the chemical that has been dubbed a “probable carcinogen” by the World Health Organization.

That’s because a recent study called The Global Glyphosate Study, found that the so-called “safe” amounts of glyphosate set by the United States government agency aren’t actually safe at all. Instead the EPA’s “safe” levels were found to damage genetic material and cause harmful imbalances in the microbiome, according to the study authors: Italy’s Ramazzini Institute in partnership with the University of Bologna, the Genoa Hospital San Martino, the Italian National Institue of Health, Mount Sinai in New York and George Washington University.

The term “microbiome” refers to the total of all microbial life that live in a human being, which is largely made up of beneficial bacteria and other beneficial microbes. Every person and living thing has a unique microbiome, similar to a microbial fingerprint.

And, that’s just the beginning of the government agency’s seeming collusion with chemical corporations. Two years ago, the agency reversed its plan to ban another toxic pesticide known as chlorpyrifos after a meeting with Dow Chemical’s CEO, Andrew Liveris.

Finally, a federal court intervened and ordered the Environmental Protection Agency to ban the toxic pesticide chlorpyrifos, yet even after the court order, the agency in its seeming egomania simply declared that it was reviewing the decision. The judge admonished the EPA for “having stalled on banning chlorpyrifos,” and ordered that all commercial registrations for chlorpyrifos be cancelled or revoked within 60 days.

Once again, the agency demonstrated a lack of integrity and decency, while abdicating its responsibility to the public in keeping them safe from brain-damaging pesticides like chlorpyrifos and probable carcinogen, glyphosate.

Why does the EPA seem hell-bent on allowing chemical corporations to run roughshod over the human right to health and safety, while the same corporations rack up billions in profits? The only answer I can think of is: cold, hard cash. Of course, I can’t prove it, but I can’t think of any other reason why the EPA would shirk its basic responsibility to Americans—a responsibility that couldn’t be any clearer than the name it sports: “Environmental Protection Agency.” After all, human beings constitute part of the environment that warrants protection.

It’s time the EPA was held accountable. Their current stall tactics and unwillingness to protect the public make them complicit in the deaths and suffering of countless people exposed to these toxic chemicals. Perhaps the agency should be named in the lawsuits alleging that glyphosate caused peoples’ cancer? It’s sad that the people who have alleged that Monsanto’s RoundUp caused their terminal cancer are forced to use their dying days to hold the company accountable, when there is a government agency that should have protected them in the first place.

SOURCE

French Media Destroys Bayer/Monsanto with New Lobbying, Fake News and Bullying Revelations

Sustainable Pulse – Feb 3, 2019

In a weekend of fury against Bayer/Monsanto the French media has gone on the attack against the powerful company’s lobbying, fake news and bullying tactics.

Le Monde (Thursday 31st): By Stéphane Foucart and Stéphane Horel

Glyphosate: How Monsanto conducts its media war

“Let nothing go”: mentioned in the “Monsanto Papers” several times, the name of this media counter-offensive, intended to defend their products tooth and nail in the media or social networks and online forums. The documents put in the public domain by a US federal judge reveal some elements of the operation of this program, but its operator remained unknown until now.

According to our information, it is the firm Fleishman-Hillard – one of the largest U.S. public relations companies – which has been mandated in France and Europe to implement the program. It is intended to promote false public debate on Bayer/Monsanto’s products.

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Monsanto, pesticides heavyweight and specialist on information kits

Le Monde (Thursday 31st): By Stéphane Foucart and Stéphane Horel

“Thanks, Kate,” signed “Sam” at the end of his email. “Kate” is Kate Kelland a reporter for Reuters, the big British news agency. “Sam” Murphey works as Global Head of External Affairs for Monsanto. As an attachment to his email dated April 27, 2017, he attached a six-page document –  “information kit” – with each element falsely fueling the impression that the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) deliberately ignored data that could have changed its decision to classify glyphosate as “a probable carcinogen” for humans.

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EXCLUSIVE. Nicolas Hulot (Ex-French Enviornment Minister): “Monsanto asked a Belgian pharmacy company to take care of my reputation”

Le Journal du Dimanche (Saturday 2nd February): By Anne-Laure Barret

Nicolas Hulot delivers his opinion on Monsanto – “the worst firm in the world”.

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GMO: what the Monsanto Papers reveal about lobbying in France

Le Parisien (January 17th): By Gaël Lombart

A new document that we reveal suggests that an ‘independent’ scientist interceded for Monsanto with French agencies in 2012. Objective: to weigh in on the continuation of the sale of its transgenic maize NK 603, following the Seralini study, which showed the dangers associated with the GMO.

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How much a life? Monsanto trial exposes risks of Roundup herbicide

Rabble.ca     Lois Ross      August 23, 2018

As a Saskatchewan resident for many years, I often heard the phrase “Roundup Ready.” It was coined as if it were a harmless jingle for soda pop. The ad still rings in my ears.

All farmers know of Roundup, the most effective weed killer. Most urbanites do as well. The way the corporate giant Monsanto has marketed, promoted, and created an artificial need for Roundup is a true story of profiteering and avarice. Now, finally, even some courts are accepting that it likely kills much more than just weeds and that Monsanto has acted to cover up concerns about the safety of Roundup.

A few years ago, Dewayne Johnson, a courageous man and one who is also dying of cancer, launched a lawsuit against Monsanto. In early August, Johnson had his day in court — and won. He showed that David can still take down Goliath — something that some of us had begun to wonder about given all the nasty stories of corporate greed, seed manipulation and cover-ups we have come to know.

But some days there are heroes. And Dewayne Johnson and the thousands of cancer patients now suing Monsanto are modern-day heroes. The 46-year-old father of two was composed in court as the San Francisco jury sided with him, noting that exposure to Roundup was a substantial factor in his getting cancer, and ordering Monsanto to pay Johnson $289 million in damages. Monsanto states it will appeal, but the appeal will cost the transnational corporation $25 million a year in interest should their appeal not be successful. Reason to pause, perhaps, for a bit of reflection.

Meanwhile, Bayer, the German company that bought Monsanto a few years ago, saw its stock plunge by billions following the court decision.

For years many have been concerned that Roundup causes cancer. Many have also been concerned about the marketing of genetically modified (GM) seed, specifically modified to only grow if used with glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup.

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Monsanto ordered to pay $289m as jury rules weedkiller caused man’s cancer

Aug 11, 2018 – The Guardian

Monsanto suffered a major blow with a jury ruling that the company was liable for a terminally ill man’s cancer, awarding him $289m in damages.

Dewayne Johnson, a 46-year-old former groundskeeper, won a huge victory in the landmark case on Friday, with the jury determining that Monsanto’s Roundup weedkiller caused his cancer and that the corporation failed to warn him of the health hazards from exposure. The jury further found that Monsanto “acted with malice or oppression”.

Johnson’s lawyers argued over the course of a month-long trial in San Francisco that Monsanto had “fought science” for years and targeted academics who spoke up about possible health risks of the herbicide product. Johnson was the first person to take the agrochemical corporation to trial over allegations that the chemical sold under the brand Roundup causes cancer.

In the extraordinary verdict, which Monsanto said it intends to appeal, the jury ruled that the company was responsible for “negligent failure” and knew or should have known that its product was “dangerous”.

“We were finally able to show the jury the secret, internal Monsanto documents proving that Monsanto has known for decades that … Roundup could cause cancer,” Johnson’s lawyer Brent Wisner said in a statement. The verdict, he added, sent a “message to Monsanto that its years of deception regarding Roundup is over and that they should put consumer safety first over profits”.

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