From: RT News
Maui County, Hawaii, approved a temporary ban on GMO crop cultivation but efforts to label genetically-modified foods at the polls in Colorado and Oregon failed. Millions of dollars were spent backing and opposing the measures.
Squeaking by with just over 1,000 votes, Maui County voters approved a temporary ban on GMO crop cultivation in a 50 to 48 percent vote. The state has become a battleground between biotech firms and food activists – it was the country’s first ever ballot initiative against global agricultural companies like Monsanto and DOW AgroSciences, who spent $8 million trying to defeat the measure.
Great headline in Maui News: “Voters: Yes” to ban GMO test fields and crops on the islandspic.twitter.com/Erojtdyx6C
— Paul Towers (@PaulAtPAN) November 5, 2014
“I think that this is a really strong message to the entire agrochemical industry in the state of Hawaii that we are no longer going to sit idly by and watch them expand their operations without the kinds of regulations that ensure the health and safety of people across Hawaii,” Ashley Luken from the Hawaiian chapter of the Center for Food Safety said to the Honolulu Civil Beat.
— Jon Rappoport (@jonrappoport) November 6, 2014
The temporary moratorium will remain in place until the county analyzes the impact of GMOs on public health and the environment. The consequence of the measure is that farming by Monsanto and Dow AgroSciences, who both operate in the county, will cease.
Both companies said they would legally challenge the moratorium.
“We believe this referendum is invalid and contrary to long established state and federal laws that support both the safety and lawful testing and planting of GMO plants,” Monsanto wrote in a statement. “If effective, the referendum will have significant negative consequences for the local economy, Hawaii agriculture and our business on the island. We are committed to ongoing dialogue as we take steps to ask the court to declare that this initiative is legally flawed and cannot be enforced.”
Meanwhile, Dow AgroSciences wrote, “[We] believe that the ban would be illegal, and we intend to protect our legal rights.”
The state’s weather allows for year-long farming and makes Hawaii a key location for the seed industry. However, residents have concerns about GMO farming and the effects of associated pesticide use on health and the environment, the Civil Beat report.
— GMWatch (@GMWatch) November 5, 2014
There was less success on mainland America, though. Voters said “no” to measures in Oregon and Colorado to label food that contains genetically modified crops.
In Colorado, 66 percent of voters were against the measure with 34 percent in favor. Prior to the election, a Denver Post poll found 59 percent of voters were opposed to GMO labeling in the state. Proposition 105 would have required food companies to label packaged foods with text reading, “produced with genetic engineering.”
In Oregon, the vote’s failure was narrower by just 1.2 percent – fewer than 51 percent of votes came in opposition. Oregon’s Measure 92 required food labels to include the words “genetically engineered.”
Similar labeling measures have failed in other states as well. Voters in California and Washington State rejected them in 2012 and 2013, respectively. However, many millions of dollars have been spent by agricultural businesses lobbying against the measures. In Colorado alone, anti-GMO labeling groups spent $15 million. In Oregon, opposition groups spent $18 million. In total, these groups businesses have spent $100 million fighting the measures nationwide.
Vermont’s governor signed the nation’s first GMO labeling requirement into law in 2014, to take effect in 2016, but a coalition of biotech firms and farmer groups filed a lawsuit to prevent that from happening. Connecticut passed legislation saying it would require labeling, but it also required four adjoining states to pass similar legislation. New York, meanwhile, held its first public hearing in early 2014 and a bill for labeling GMOs will be introduced to the assembly in 2015.
Election Bang: Maui Bans GMO Crops
Reposted from: Activist Post | by Jon Rappoport
Note: To those few of you who are spending big bucks to fund GMO-labeling ballot measures, I’m taking you to school in this article. Read the whole thing, especially the last part. If you want more lessons, get in touch.
Okay. Here we go.
They got into Monsanto’s face. They accused Monsanto/Dow of spreading poison.
They didn’t say, “You have a right to know what’s in your food and we’re all nice people, and reasonable people have a right to disagree.”
They hit it hard.
Their corporate opposition spent $300 for every vote they got. And lost.
A tip of the hat and a bow to Maui County activists.
You know what you’re doing. You’re local. You experience, first-hand, the Monsanto Roundup poison. You see something, you do something.
The ban/moratorium can only be overturned after an environmental impact statement is submitted to the Maui County Council, and after a 2/3 vote to overturn.
Ultimate victory isn’t guaranteed by any means, but this is a real battle, not a mock one.
Colorado lost its GMO labeling ballot measure last night, and so did Oregon.
But Maui proved, in its own backyard, that banning poison is more powerful than labeling it.
The major funders of the labeling campaigns should write some fat checks to voteyesmaui.org and SHAKA, and then also buy ads on big websites: MAUI KNOWS HOW TO BEAT MONSANTO.
Let the world know.
In the end, this isn’t a consumer campaign, it’s a war against lying corporate poisoners.
Saying Monsanto can keep poisoning doesn’t cut it.
Update: Ballot Measure P in Humboldt County, California, passed by a wide margin. Measure P “prohibits the propagation, cultivation, raising, or growing of genetically modified organisms in Humboldt County.”
Good work, Humboldt. Another ban.
***Let me explain something. The GMO-labeling ballot measures are really PR campaigns, and they keep some degree of awareness alive about GMO crops.
They’re not full educational campaigns, because the amount of teaching they do is superficial, despite their claims to the contrary.
PR is slogans. Education is much, much deeper, and it certainly includes aggressive information about the horrendous effects of Roundup, among other GMO issues.
Education requires getting people to stand still long enough to actually learn something important. It isn’t a brush-off.
So here’s the point. If these GMO-labeling ballot campaigns are really PR, then why not redirect the PR against Monsanto and the other corporate criminals, instead of monotonously hammering away on “the right to know what’s in your food”?
There’s nothing to lose (after labeling defeats in California, Washington, Colorado, and Oregon), and everything to gain.
Monsanto is building this reality: GMO foods are wonderful and safe and the planet benefits.
So far, the counter-reality is: let Monsanto and their allied farmers grow their food, as long as the consumer can ID it on the label and reject it, if he wants to.
That’s going to win the day?
That’s the superior new reality?
That’s suicide through lack of imagination and courage.
Take a few million of the dollars now being spent on pro-labeling campaigns and, instead, put it into video web ads that play all over the world:
A destitute farmer (and his family) stands in front of his wasted, dusty, super-weed-choked field, states his name, and says: “I’m an American farmer. Monsanto lied to me and killed my farm and my livelihood with their poison called Roundup. And it doesn’t even work. The weeds it was supposed to knock out are bigger than ever. Monsanto strangled my soybean crop. They ruined my farm. And my daughter is sick from the Roundup poison…”
Then…boom. A few of your cold-eyed, take-no-prisoner attorneys stroll into the frame, and one of them looks into the camera and says, “Hello, Monsanto. Thinking of suing us for this ad? Bring it, baby.”
A man pushes a large trunk on a dolly into the frame. He opens the trunk and takes out sheaf after sheaf of papers.
The attorney says, “Monsanto? This is the evidence that shows you’ve been lying to the people about how safe GMO food is, and you’ve been lying about your poison called Roundup. See you at the first deposition. It’s going to be a DOOZIE, Monsanto.”
A large red title appears at the bottom of the screen: BAN GENETICALLY MODIFIED FOOD.
It fades out, to be replaced by another title:
SEND MONSANTO CRIMINALS TO PRISON.
Something like that. For starters.
Other ads will follow.
Increase public awareness? Create a page-one controversial news story from one end of the planet to the other?
Are you kidding?
Monsanto sues and it’s a five-year story. Monsanto doesn’t sue and they’re cowards. Either way it’s a big-time winner.
THIS is PR.
PR for the public good.
To those of you who are spending big bucks to fund GMO-labeling ballot measures:
I’m taking you to school. If you want more lessons, get in touch.
About the Author
Jon Rappoport is the author of two explosive collections, The Matrix Revealed and Exit From the Matrix, Jon was a candidate for a US Congressional seat in the 29th District of California. Nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, he has worked as an investigative reporter for 30 years, writing articles on politics, medicine, and health for CBS Healthwatch, LA Weekly, Spin Magazine, Stern, and other newspapers and magazines in the US and Europe. Jon has delivered lectures and seminars on global politics, health, logic, and creative power to audiences around the world. You can sign up for his free emails at www.nomorefakenews.com