A protest in Great Britain against genetically modified cropsmdashGetty ImagesGraeme Robertson

A protest in Great Britain against genetically modified crops.—Getty Images/Graeme Robertson

‘Ecocide’ trial could have ramifications for future of farming

Just when it seems things can’t get any crazier in the activist arena, it does — and the way you farm, and the prices we pay for food, may well be at stake.

A GMO protester in Great Britain.—Getty Images/Slon Touhig

At the big United Nations Conference on Climate Change in Paris, where nearly 200 world leaders spent millions of dollars to develop a framework for mitigating greenhouse gases that may sound good in theory but will take a lot of resolve and cooperation on the part of all those governments, there was a press conference to announce that Monsanto will stand trial next year at the Court of International Justice in The Hague, Netherlands, for “ecocide” and “crimes against humanity and nature.”

News reports say that more than 800 international, food, and environmental justice organizations in 100 countries are involved in the legal action against the company.

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One report says this “comes as a victory for many environmentalists and food activists who are making the ultimate stand against” Monsanto, and follows a French court decision to charge the company with chemical poisoning.

While the crux of the complaints by these organizations is the widespread use of its weed control product, Roundup, the legal action also cites a lengthy history of “toxic products,” including 2,4,5-T, which has been long out of use in the U.S., and Lasso herbicide, banned in Europe. Also included are PCBs, used in electric transformers and other electrical insulation equipment, but not used in the U.S. since 1977.

A spokesman for one of the activist organizations said, “Corporate agribusiness, industrial forestry, the garbage and sewage industry, and agricultural biotechnology have literally killed the climate-stabilizing, carbon-sink capacity of the Earth’s living soil.” Another lamented that the company has “pushed GMOs in order to collect payments from poor farmers, trapping them in unpayable debt, and pushing them to suicide.”

Regardless of the decision, the Court of International Justice is not internationally recognized and can’t impose a sentence on the company. “The Monsanto Tribunal” says its action is not merely a symbolic one, but rather an attempt to establish “ecocide” as a crime.

Aside from a lot of money going to lawyers on both sides, this is yet another in the ongoing series of attempts by activists to return the world to manure-and-mules agriculture, and is antithetical to the goal of producing more food, at reasonable cost, to feed a growing world population.

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