The battle for a healthy, transparent food system has taken many twists and turns, ranging from the fight to overturn the Monsanto Protection Act to the fight for mandatory, plain-text GMO labeling.
But most people are still oblivious to what’s happening at the local level in cities, towns and counties across the United States, where activists and concerned citizens continually clash with supporters of multi-national corporations like Monsanto over key issues.
One of the biggest is the right to seed freedom and the freedom from GMO contamination, and now it has been brought to the public’s attention that serious work needs to be done.
More Than Two Dozen States Pass Restrictive Seed Laws
According to a report from Fern’s Ag Insider, more than two dozen state legislative branches have passed so-called “seed-preemption laws,” which have been designed to block counties and cities from adopting their own rules on the use of seeds. The laws also may prevent local citizens from pushing for and enacting bans on GMOs (oftentimes with cross-contamination risks in mind), the report said.
There’s nothing more fundamental than a seed, and now control over seed rights has been taken out of local communities and placed into the hands of the state, critics say.
“This bill should be viewed for what it is — a gag order on public debate,” Kristina Hubbard, director of advocacy and communications at the Organic Seed Alliance according to the article.
“This thinly disguised attack on local democracy can be easily traced to out-of-state, corporate interests that want to quash local autonomy.”
It is believed according to the report that these laws are meant to protect the interests of massive agro-chemical corporations like Monsanto, and are part of a branch of initiatives that include infamous “Ag-Gag laws” that allow the state to legally prohibit outsiders from photographing farms; as well as “right-to-farm” laws that make it easier to shut down complaints about animal welfare related issues.
The article added that the new laws, which have been adopted in 29 states including agricultural heavyweights such as Oregon, California, Iowa and Colorado, utilize language from a 2013 model bill drafted by ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council, which is a “a pay-to-play operation where corporations buy a seat and a vote on ‘task forces’ to advance their legislative wish lists,” essentially “voting as equals” that counts Monsanto, Bayer, DuPont and the Koch brothers among their corporate members.
In other words, these bills are strongly pro-Monsanto and are likely aimed at putting the brakes on potential GMO bans in local areas, the likes of which have been seen in places like Boulder County, Colorado and Jackson County, Oregon where cross-contamination from GMO crops is a major concern that could potentially lead to massive financial losses in terms of export markets.
One example of the Texas law noted that it may be impossible to ban neonicotinoids, controversial pesticide-coated seeds linked to wide-scale honeybee deaths. And because the issue is so politically corrupted, passing such a bill at the state law would likely be extremely difficult, leaving priceless bees at the mercy of these seeds.
For more information on the bills and their impact on potential GMO bans, check out the full article by clicking on this link.