The controversy and claims of corruption surrounding corporate giant Monsanto are well-known, but how far will lobbyists go to make their point? When one such lobbyist makes an extreme claim, stating that the company’s herbicide is safe to drink, an interviewer is quick to call his bluff.
Recently Monsanto has once again found themselves in the news headlines due to a lawsuit based in San Francisco. Setting a major precedent for the thousands of other cases currently levied against the company due to claims that their well-known herbicide Roundup gave them cancer, the jury at the Superior Court of California ruled in favor of Dewayne Johnson, awarding him $289 million in both punitive and compensatory damages.
The ingredient of concern is glyphosate, a key ingredient in the herbicide. In a March 2015 report, the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) confirmed that the chemical is probably carcinogenic, however, the company is adamant that the product is safe for use. In fact, there have been a number of studies conducted trying to get to the bottom of the chemical’s potential risks, and the results have been inconclusive. While some studies reveal what they claim to be a clear connection between glyphosate and cancer, others deny that this association can be proven.
The controversy surrounding the risks of Roundup is anything but new! In fact, two years ago lobbyist Dr. Patrick Moore made headlines after an interview arguing in support of Monsanto. The self-proclaimed ecological expert was once involved with a number of environmental organizations, including holding the position of president with Greenpeace Canada. After leaving the world of environmental activism in 1986, his opinions appear to have taken a dramatic turn. Moore’s current opinions are largely in favor of the corporate world.
In the interview, Moore and the interviewer were discussing the impact of Roundup on the South American country of Argentina. When asked about the proposed connection between the use of Roundup throughout the country and the notable increase in cancer rates, Moore insisted that the product was completely safe. In fact, he stated it was so safe that it would be fine to drink. He even went as far as stating, “You can drink a whole quart of it and it won’t hurt you.”
Calling his bluff, the interviewer then asked Moore if he wanted to drink some, however, faced with the reality of his statements, his demeanor changed entirely. The interviewer wasn’t willing to give up that easy. Each time that Moore declined, the interviewer simply tried again. He pushed until Moore snapped “No, I’m not an idiot”, demanding that the interview return to its original topic. While his words said one thing, his actions said something completely different! It leaves one to question if even Monsanto’s supporters won’t stand by their outrageous claims of the chemical’s safety, how much should we believe?