The Monsanto Company has been protested, petitioned, and demonstrated against, and its flagship products have even been banned in many parts of Europe, in stark contrast to what’s happening in the United States.
But now, the company could become an even bigger part of every day life throughout the continent, as the German pharmaceutical and chemical giant Bayer has officially won antitrust approval for its $62.5 billion dollar purchase of Monsanto — even despite the presence of more than a million citizen petitions against the merger.
Needless to say, it’s a whole new era in the world agrochemical business and even the Monsanto Company as we all know it, with U.S. approval looking like the next likely step in the near future.
Monsanto, Bayer Mega-Merger Set to Become Reality
What will become of Monsanto, whose mere presence (and sordid history of creating some of the world’s most toxic and deadly chemicals) has sparked a protest movement of millions across the globe through the March Against Monsanto movement?
A company name change could be possible, but for now the focus is on how the merger could affect farmers as well as the prices and availability of seeds and other resources.
The new mega-company will now have unprecedented control over the seed and chemicals industry.
The merger will give Monsanto-Bayer control over more than a quarter of the world’s entire seed and pesticides market, according to this report from Reuters.
The companies will also exert major control over cutting edge new farming data-related tools, consolidating a massive amount of power and influence within two companies that are famous for their GMO seeds and chemical-focused approach.
The focus on chemicals and GMOs is just part of the reason why both companies, especially Monsanto, have been so strongly opposed by environmental and health activists and organizations across the world.
A petition with over a million signatures was delivered to the European Commission, but they chose to approve the merger anyway despite concerns that too much power would be invested in two corporations with a long history of producing environmental and health-damaging toxic pesticides, especially at a time where organic and natural farming is becoming the new trend.
Bayer was forced to sell off some assets to chemical rival BASF before the merger, but is expected to still maintain and expand its enormous influence.
“Our decision ensures that there will be effective competition and innovation in seeds, pesticides and digital agriculture markets also after this merger,” European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said in a statement according to Reuters.
“In particular, we have made sure that the number of global players actively competing in these markets stays the same.”
How to Stop Bayer-Monsanto Merger in the United States
Considering Europe’s long history of standing up to Monsanto and the U.S.’s long history of catering to the company’s every need, blocking a Bayer-Monsanto merger in the U.S. looks like an uphill climb to say the least.
But that doesn’t mean we should stop fighting.
Currently a petition from SumofUs has over 500,000 signatures, which can be viewed and signed here.
You can also read a recent survey of farmers showing how and why they “overwhelmingly oppose” the Monsanto-Bayer merger by reading this article from EcoWatch.com.
And on May 19 of this year, the worldwide March Against Monsanto will be the stage for yet another massive protest against the company, with an added emphasis on the Bayer merger. Stay tuned to our Facebook page and website for more updates.
Thumbnail photo via Sputnik.