With little warning, Germany chemical giant Bayer made a bid to take over U.S.-based Monsanto for $66 billion. Together, the fused companies would create the world’s largest seed and pesticide company, which many argue would equate to a monopoly. The U.S. Department of Justice has already investigated Monsanto’s monopoly over the nationwide market, and the merger will most certainly give the company more influence over agriculture than it has ever had before—a terrifying thought.
Monsanto has been the subject of heated debates at all levels, from public meetings in community centers to the federal level. The company’s top-selling product, RoundUp, contains glyphosate as its active ingredient, which has been linked to cancer, respiratory ailments, and autism. Glyphosate is already banned or highly restricted in Europe and other parts of the world, but regulators in the U.S. have failed to act swiftly, in part due to the heavy influence of Monsanto. The pesticide maker has also lobbied widely and even filed lawsuits to block GMO labeling and bury the World Health Organization’s report on glyphosate as a carcinogen. For years, environmentalists and health advocates have been fighting against Monsanto, but the company’s deep pockets have made it an uphill battle. With the Bayer takeover threatening to increase those resources, public concern should be on the rise.
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“The attempted takeover of Monsanto by Bayer is a threat to all Americans,” said Bernie Sanders on Wednesday, decrying the Bayer bid. “These mergers boost the profits of huge corporations and leave Americans paying even higher prices. Not only should this merger be blocked, but the Department of Justice should reopen its investigation of Monsanto’s monopoly over the seed and chemical market.”
Bayer’s proposed bid led Friends of the Earth Europe’s senior food and farming campaigner Adrian Bebb to issue sharp criticism. “Bayer’s buyout of Monsanto is a marriage made in hell, which threatens to further lock in industrialized agriculture at the expense of nature, farmers and the wider public,” said Bebb. “While public support for local and greener food continues to boom, this mega corporation will be doing its best to force damaging pesticides and GM seeds into our countryside.”
Via The Guardian
Images via Mike Mozart, Paul and Cathy/Flickr and Bayer