Monsanto and the Dangers of GMOs

Justin Kim

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There are several interesting articles I have found: Monsanto; Unethical and Fallacious written by James Turnage and published on Public Slate, Eight Ways Monsanto Fails at Sustainable Agriculture written by an unknown author and published on Union of Concerned Scientists, and finally Monsanto’s Pesticide Problems Raise Awareness about Corporate Environmental Responsibility written by Nathaniel Flannery and published on Forbes.

Image result for monsantoMany people are aware of this company, and usually, not for the good they have done but the bad. There is nothing good about harmful chemicals and genetically engineered products that pollute the world’s livestock.

According to the article Monsanto; Unethical and Fallacious which is posted on the Public Slate website, the author makes note that, “It could be a lot of things; it could enrich the lives of humans. Unfortunately, it is none of those. Monsanto is a chemical company, and it produces products which are harmful and even deadly. Claims by Monsanto that their chemicals are safe and improve lives are fallacious, and their business practices are unethical” (Turnage). One interesting and hallmark example of Monsanto’s early unethical business practices was when they decided to aid the Government during the Vietnam war and create a chemical called “Agent Orange” which was designed and supposed to effectively expose positions of the North Vietcong fighters who were against U.S. operations. I learned about Agent Orange and Monsanto’s early shading dealings from one of the three articles, Monsanto’s Pesticide Problems Raise Awareness about Corporate Environmental Responsibility. Apparently, Monsanto had stated that their genetically engineered chemical “Agent Orange” was supposed to be completely non harmful to human beings when coming in contact with them (Flannery). Without much further digging, the Government and other companies who were working with Monsanto at the time decided to proceed with deploying Agent Orange in various parts of the Vietnam jungle. The fact of the matter was, which Monsanto chose not to disclose, the chemical was very harmful and toxic to humans. I then learned there was an abundance of reported cases ranging from a plethora of cancers and other deadly diseases that were brought on by the chemical Agent Orange (Flannery). It is interesting mainly because Agent Orange was a very early example of Monsanto’s unethical practices and decision making, as they violated one of the first requirements of being ethical – being honest.

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It is hard to say if whether or not Monsanto knew the harm this chemical would cause to residents of Vietnam, but if a company is planning on releasing an agent into a foreign place, they better make sure they adequately test it to ensure it’s not harmful. If they did not do adequate testing to the chemical before releasing it and just made blanket statements that it is not harmful, that would also show an utter lack of respect for the residents of Vietnam, respect being another primary requirement of being an ethical decision maker. According to the same article on Public Slate, Monsanto; Unethical and Fallacious the author makes mention of, “Monsanto’s latest questionable product is Genetically Modified Organisms. GMO’s and food developed using GMO material have been banned in the European Union, Australia, and Japan. GMO’s were developed to endure the pesticide Roundup, also produced by Monsanto” (Turnage). It is crucial to know what a GMO is, when analyzing the three articles in question. I learned that GMOs also known as Genetically Modified Organisms are what have brought Monsanto corporation to the public stage of ridicule from the general population. According to one of the three articles, Monsanto; Unethical and Fallacious, GMOs created by Monsanto are targeted at reducing weeds which may grow in farmer’s crop fields, but the underlying danger of GMOs stretch much further than just being a pesticide reducer. GMOs have been linked to serious illness and in extreme cases even death (Turnage). When farmers use harmful products such as the ones created by Monsanto for their crops, they are possibly putting the consumer at risk as trace amounts of the GMO can still exist on the crop after it is harvested and sent to retailers, being the reason I learned, that many smart countries have started to outlawed their use. Taking information from the article Eight Ways Monsanto Fails at Sustainable Agriculture which is published by the Union of Concerned Scientists website I learned that, “Monsanto aggressively touts its technology as vital to achieving laudable goals such as ensuring adequate food production, responding to the challenge of global warming, and reducing agriculture’s negative impacts on the environment” (“Eight Ways Monsanto Fails at Sustainable Agriculture”).

To restore their respect, integrity, and honesty – Monsanto needs to promote that they are the only choice when it comes to achieving optimal food production. Monsanto has been attempting and is so far successful in creating a monopoly on the market; they need to stop expanding their mono culture. Along with decreasing herbicide use, not promoting pesticide resistance, not marginalizing alternatives, and not suppressing research on their products, Monsanto can once again be honest, having both integrity and respect (“Eight Ways Monsanto Fails at Sustainable Agriculture”). If they fall short at committing to these changes, they will only continue to be pegged as one of the worst and most unethical companies in the world.

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