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Vietnam demands Monsanto pays compensation for Agent Orange victims
Toxic defoliant has been linked to birth defects, cancers and other deadly diseases from which millions suffer to this day.US planes drop Agent Orange in 1966 ( AP )
Vietnam has demanded Monsanto pay compensation to the victims of Agent Orange, which the company supplied to the US military during the Vietnam War.
It came in response to the firm being ordered to pay $289m (£226m) to a school groundsman who claims his use of its Roundup weedkiller contributed to his terminal cancer.
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DeWayne Johnson listens during the Monsanto trial in San Francisco last month. Photograph: Pool New/Reuters
Monsanto suffered a major blow with a jury ruling that the company was liable for a terminally ill man’s cancer, awarding him $289m in damages.
Dewayne Johnson, a 46-year-old former groundskeeper, won a huge victory in the landmark case on Friday, with the jury determining that Monsanto’s Roundup weedkiller caused his cancer and that the corporation failed to warn him of the health hazards from exposure. The jury further found that Monsanto “acted with malice or oppression”.
Johnson’s lawyers argued over the course of a month-long trial in San Francisco that Monsanto had “fought science” for years and targeted academics who spoke up about possible health risks of the herbicide product. Johnson was the first person to take the agrochemical corporation to trial over allegations that the chemical sold under the brand Roundup causes cancer.
Landmark lawsuit claims Monsanto hid cancer danger of weedkiller for decades
There have been thousands of similar legal claims across the US, and Johnson’s case was particularly significant because a judge allowed his team to present scientific arguments. The dispute centered on glyphosate, which is the world’s most widely used herbicide. The verdict came a month after a federal judge ruled that cancer survivors or relatives of the deceased could bring similar claims forward in another trial.
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From the USA.
National poll results released this week confirm that farmers across the country believe the merger of Bayer and Monsanto will be bad for farming and farm communities. As the Department of Justice considers its final decision regarding the merger, the poll demonstrates serious concern from farmers and some details about why many believe more consolidation will be harmful.
The weed crisis and accompanying dicamba drift epidemic of last year’s growing season were identified by many farmers as a major concern, and a problem that Monsanto cannot solve and a merger could further amplify.
Farmers say NO to merger
Nearly 1,000 farmers in 48 states, representing all sectors of farming, were asked about the pending merger, and more than 93% expressed concern, with top worries being increased pressure to practice chemical-dependent farming and reduced choice for purchasing seeds and other inputs.
Roger Johnson, President of the National Farmers Union, has this perspective on the pending merger:
Family farmers deserve fair prices, choices in what they plant, and the type of market competition that incentivizes firms to compete and innovate. A Bayer-Monsanto merger stands to move each of these factors in the wrong direction.”
Monsanto & dicamba drift
Last season’s dicamba drift crisis, with more than 3.5 million soy acres damaged by Monsanto’s latest seed/herbicide combo, no doubt elevates these concerns for farmers across the country.
Grain farmers are in a tough spot, thanks to so many years of the corporation’s RoundUp Ready crops spawning the current epidemic of herbicide-resistent weeds. Monsanto’s “solution” to this problem, of course, was Xtend — the dicamba cropping system that is causing so much collateral damage.
Prominent weed scientists predict that already-existing dicamba-resistant weeds will spread quickly, and that Xtend will not solve the weed problem RoundUp has created. It will, however, produce massive short-term profits for Monsanto through herbicide sales.
Widespread impacts & concerns
The survey results also reveal that:
More than 70% of farmers report heavier herbicide use due to resistant weeds;
Over 90% of organic farmers are concerned that pesticide drift will impact their ability to continue organic farming;
Over 11% of field-crop farmers had a recent dicamba drift incident; and
Over 10% of conventional farmers are considering buying Xtend seeds only to prevent dicamba drift damage to their own crops.
You can stand with farmers against the Bayer-Monsanto merger.