Eight protesters arrested at Monsanto plant in Woodland, CA

Activists outside of the Yolo County Main Jail after being released from custody. Photo courtesy of Michael Kerr. |
By Dan Bacher | October 17, 2018 |

Yolo County Sheriffs Deputies arrested eight environmental and social justice activists at the main gate to the Woodland Monsanto/Bayer Plant, the world’s largest biotech seed facility, between 7:30 and 8:30 a.m. on October 15. 

Deputies took the activists for booking on trespassing charges at the Yolo County Jail, where they were released from custody about 2 p.m. They have a January 22, 2019 court date in Yolo County Superior Court. 

The protesters started blocking the gates at about 5 a.m. More than a dozen sheriff deputies guarded the Monsanto plant during the protest. Over 50 people showed up for the protest throughout the day.

The protesters called for an immediate moratorium - and eventual ban - on the spraying of Glyphosate/Roundup and all broad-spectrum pesticides. 

“We eat the same pesticides that are killing the bees and butterflies when we eat foods containing GMOs,” said Bob Saunders, an Anti-Monsanto Project member. “2-4-D/Agent Orange (created by Monsanto and widely used in Vietnam) is now an approved additive to the chemical cocktail and has been approved by the EPA, which is counter-intuitive. We are calling for an immediate moratorium on the spraying of Glyphosate/Roundup and all broad-spectrum pesticides while we are working on and pushing for a full and enforced ban of these herbicides/pesticides.”

“No school grounds where children lunch and play, no public parks where children and families lunch and play, no baseball, football or soccer fields, and no backyards and gardens, should ever be subjected to glyphosate and other pesticide spraying. There are much safer and sensible alternatives that can be used to eradicate weeds and the like and they should be used now!” Saunders emphasized.
There were 10 arrests at a similar protest last year, but the judge threw out the charges later. The Yolo Superior Court Judge dismissed the “Monsanto 10” case  after 3 days of trial. http://www.davisvanguard.org/2018/03/monsanto-protestors-found-not-guilty-yolo-county-trial-thursday/.  

Protesters noted that the blockade also builds on a major recent court victory in the $289 million Dewayne Johnson vs. Monsanto court case in San Francisco, CA that was won by Johnson.  

“This case has become a clarion call to environmentalists and health experts further proving the extreme health risks and dangers posed by Monsanto and their products,” according to Saunders. ”There are more than 9,500 more law suits that are waiting to be filed.”

The jurors in the Dewayne Johnson vs. Monsanto court case are now urging the judge not to overturn the jury’s $289 million decision, according to the San Francisco Chronicle: www.sfchronicle.com/…
“You may not have been convinced by the evidence but we were,” juror Gary Kitahata said in a letter to Superior Court Judge Suzanne Bolanos, who is considering Monsanto’s requests to reduce the damages or overturn the entire verdict. “I urge you to respect and honor our verdict and the six weeks of our lives that we dedicated to this trial.”

Bayer Crop Science responded to the Woodland protest in a statement: 

“Advancing life is what Bayer cares about. The earth’s population is rapidly growing. Its natural resources are limited. This calls for innovation that helps farmers improve this year’s harvest, and ensures the health of their fields, environment, farm operations and the global food system for generations to come. We take great pride in being an ethical, responsible and transparent company. Our team has plenty of mothers, fathers, sons, daughters and grandparents, who want to look after the health of their families and communities around the world, and who care about our farmer customers. 

We are committed to having an open dialogue about modern agriculture and how food is grown as we use digital tools, data and research to find solutions that balance the need to feed people and protect the planet. Through innovation and collaborations, we develop new tools that help farmers grow food using less of the earth’s natural resources. While we respect that there are different points of view on these topics, and it’s important that they’re able to express and share them, unlawful actions aren’t appropriate way to advance this important discussion. We respect the rights of all people to peacefully assemble and welcome honest debate on any issue.” 

The Flashpoints program out of KPFA Radio FM in Berkeley interviewed two of the activists, Mahai’a and Mauro Oliveira, on October 16. The show airs nationally across Pacifica stations and dozens others who carry the stream. Here is the link to the broadcast: kpfa.org/… 
The livestream for the protest is available here: https://www.facebook.com/intrikitbeatz/videos/1829960480405743/

Background from the Anti-Monsanto Project:  Monsanto controls 92 percent of the world’s seed market and conducts genetic engineering (GE) which produces genetically modified foods (GMOs) — products that reach food markets and food tables and linked to an array of health and safety issues, and more, according to a news release from the protesters.

The herbicide Glyphosate (used in Roundup and other weed killer products) and massively sprayed on farm fields, public parks, school grounds, and more, is a known endocrine disruptor and antibiotic. It is commonly found at unacceptable levels in cereals, milk, corn, candy, mother’s breast milk, urine, and much more. There is no safe level of Glyphosate use.

The Bayer merger with Monsanto (2017) now includes Bayer’s dark and sordid history in the chemical and pharmaceutical industries. Bayer was part of the IG Farben group in WWII that used the chemical Zyklon B poison gas to exterminate millions of people in Nazi Concentration Camps, along with their conducting numerous, brutal and inhumane tests on concentration camp subjects—children, men and women, to see how they reacted to their cruel experiments and chemical torture. 
From 1978 -2009, Bayer and other pharmaceutical companies produced Factor VIII and IX, a product designed for hemophiliacs. In order to cut costs, Bayer harvested blood from pools of “high risk” individuals, which aside from being extremely risky and dangerous, violated Federal law.  Bayer and other companies failed to enact strict prerequisites for blood farming. As a result, thousands of hemophiliacs died from the HIV- tainted blood plasma.   

Additionally, Bayer was found guilty of Medicaid cheating by the Justice Department for overstating average wholesale pharmaceutical prices to receive larger reimbursements for more than 7 years. It cost Bayer $14 million in reimbursement payments. Bayer also produced two birth control drugs, Yaz and Yazmin, that caused the deaths of hundreds of previously healthy women. It is still being widely sold and used.  

Bayer also produced Mirena, an IUD birth control device that was cited by the FDA for its causation of numerous ectopic pregnancies, and other complications and illnesses. Bayer was ordered by the FDA to alert the public about the danger of Mirena’s usage. Mirena is still on the market.  In 2006, Bayer was involved in Rice crops becoming contaminated by illegal GMOs. 

Monsanto has been responsible for the manufacture of genetically modified ingredients or GMO’s and herbicides like Roundup, which contains glyphosate, for many years, and glyphosate was declared by the World Health Organization as a “probable” carcinogen [ March 15, 2015] (though there is worldwide and factual evidence proving that it is a carcinogen!).  

The state of California passed a bill that now directly calls glyphosate a carcinogen and requires the labeling of such on the product (Prop. 65), but there is no enforcement for safety. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) maintains glyphosate is not likely to be carcinogenic. The EPA labeled glyphosate a carcinogen in 1985, but reversed its position in 1991. 

Glyphosate is the most widely used pesticide in California and in the United States. More than 300 million pounds were used in U.S. agriculture, primarily due to the widespread adoption of genetically engineered crops and the resultant growth of super weeds. In 2013, 10 million pounds was used in California alone, with half of that usage being sprayed in eight of the state’s poorest counties on farm fields, lawns, gardens, school grounds, and parks, with five of those poorest counties being in the south Central Valley.  

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