Marches and rallies against seed giant Monsanto were held across the U.S. and in dozens of other countries Saturday.
“March Against Monsanto” protesters say they want to call attention to the dangers posed by genetically modified food and the food giants that produce it. Marches were planned for more than 250 cities around the globe, according to organisers.
Genetically modified plants are grown from seeds that are engineered to resist insecticides and herbicides, add nutritional benefits or otherwise improve crop yields and increase the global food supply. Most corn, soybean and cotton crops grown in the United States today have been genetically modified. But some say genetically modified organisms can lead to serious health conditions and harm the environment.
In the U.S., hundreds of people held marches in Los Angeles, Chicago and New York. In Washington, D.C., protesters wearing yellow-and-black shirts lay on the sidewalk in a bee die-in outside Monsanto’s headquarters. Abroad, protests took place in London, Amsterdam, Stockholm, Vienna, Durban, South Africa, and Melbourne, Australia, among other places. In Cairo, a female protester held up a sign reading “I am not a science experiment.”
Monsanto Co., based in St. Louis, said on Saturday that it respects people’s rights to express their opinion on the topic, but maintains that its seeds improve agriculture by helping farmers produce more from their land while conserving resources such as water and energy.
The use of GMOs has been a growing issue of contention in recent years, with health advocates pushing for mandatory labelling of genetically modified products even though the federal government and many scientists say the technology is safe.
Whole Foods says there is growing demand for products that don’t use GMOs, with sales of products with a “Non-GMO” verification label spiking between 15 per cent and 30 per cent.