Last week Hugo and I attended a nearby community meeting concerning
a local farmer, Marshall Bailleau growing canola near a suburban area.
The 60 or so people who were there were all there because of their
concern regarding how his crop was going to affect them.
Marshall’s argument was that he was doing the community a service by growing GM canola
because he could stop using deadly weedicides – which he said were more
harmful than Roundup which was perfectly safe and did not harm
the environment. He added that the bees loved visiting his canola too.
He then pointed out how much research he had done prior to planting
the GM crop – he had read the OGTR all 212 pages of it, and in particular pointed out
that GM canola was safe to human health. He also referred
to the Vic Govt report headed by Sir Gus Nossal which found GM to be
of benefit to the environment. Lastly to add his final blow he left copies
of the Vic Govt media release which promised that GM canola would be
kept separate from other grains and that consumers would be able to
choose GM or nonGM because it would be labelled.
He also said that his growing GM canola would not affect anyone else
because there were no cases where GM canola had escaped!
Hugo and I were shaking our heads by this time. I have to say that
I did get up in particular to express my opinion regarding Monsanto’s
corporate strategy to make the farmers pawns in their hands. Also
to state that many farmers are not finding any need to use any chemicals
to get rid of weeds. I also asked if he was aware that the French farmers
had discovered that Roundup was harmful to the environment as it
was escaping into the nearby waterways. Due to this fact Monsanto are
forbidden by law to advertise that it is non residual. His response
was that the Roundup used here was different!
The evening concluded with 2 votes: 1. To recommend that the 2
neighbouring shires be GM Free and 2. That any person or business
affected by the growing of GM be compensated. both votes passed
The thing that amazed us most that Marshall had the courage to come to
a local meeting but was so out of touch with his community. He seemed to
have no sense of anything being awry. Does he realise that believing that
Monsanto is better for the farmers is akin to believing that the fox will
look after the chickens?!
What do you think?