Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Unethical Decisions in Farming

Monsanto is a perfect example of a company that needs to think about the environment and their consumers. For those of you who don’t know, Monsanto is mainly used for bovine growth hormone, which people in the industry call rBGH. It is also used for genetically engineering seeds. Fortunately for Canada, the EU, Japan, and many other developed countries the product has been banned from being used. Looking more at an agricultural point of view, mostly all animals on an average factory farm are injected with Monsanto yearly. rBGH is an artificial hormone that increases lactation (milk production), and it triggers nutrients to increase the growth of young calves. ‘Cows forced to produce unnaturally high quantities of milk can become malnourished because they lose more nutrients through their milk than they ingest in their feed, and are therefore more susceptible to disease.’(http://www.sustainabletable.org/issues/rbgh/)
It’s interesting to think that Canada and the USA have many similar standards when it comes to food and drug use on animals. In this case, Monsanto really felt they could make money and hide the truth from USA consumers. Canada and other developed countries did studies and came to realize that this was not a safe drug to be using for the cattle or the consumer, but the USA Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had no problem with it and did their own study on 30 rats for 90 days.
Media regretted to inform the public that officials from the FDA had close ties with Monsanto and they had all worked with each other in the past. Michael Taylor created a strategy for the cover up of the truth. He didn’t want parents to know that milk could harm themselves and their children in the future. Like some of us have noticed, Michael realized that no one really cares about things until they happen to them personally. If children started to get sick because of the milk, THEN the parents would have something to say to Monsanto, but since no terribly bad things had happened yet he went on to convince court systems that the drug was harmless to both animals and consumers.
Monsanto may cause an increase production of milk and many things that seem great for the business world, but to the company Monsanto, money seems to be everything to them. As seen in The Corporation movie, 2 news reporters were sent to deliver news on Monsanto (http://www.shirleys-wellness-cafe.com/bgh.htm article and video). They did research and successfully found out that this drug was not at all safe for the animals, or for the people consuming the animals. Monsanto tore the report they made apart, fixing any negative speech into very limited explanation. For example, the word cancer was worded ‘human health implications.’ Not only could this drug lead to cancer for humans, it caused many difficulties for cattle. Health Canada conducted a study on the drug in which resulted that there was an increase of mastitis, deformed calves, open wounds, secretions of blood into the milk, and many, many other problems.
Not only did this company illegally make it okay for the product to be used on animals, it also dumped toxic waste into other countries knowing it could cause harm to the people and their wildlife. This would not give the greatest look on a company!
Luckily for us, we are in Canada where this drug is banned, but Monsanto makes me wonder if other companies in Canada are selfish enough to put not only animals at risk, but their own customer at risk of potential death, and are willing to go as far as to email huge news stations to change data and convince our court system that their product is okay for consumers. Many products/chemicals are used daily in Canada, such as pesticides that don’t only get into our food(cattle, sheep, pigs etc.), but into our soil and water systems creating an effect on people who don’t even eat meat and perhaps not even live in our country.
Amy Paszternak

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