Corporate Control in Animal Science Research


FoodCommon Resources



Corporate agribusinesses depend on favourable science to gain regulatory approval or market acceptance of products such as new animal drugs, and they depend on academic journals to deliver this science. To secure favourable scientific reviews, industry groups play an enormous role in the production of scientific literature, authoring journal articles, funding academic research and also serving as editors, sponsors or directors of scientific journals where much of their research is published.

Deep-pocketed corporations often have no counterpoint in the scientific literature. No group of scientists or science funders is, for example, aggressively investigating the safety or efficacy of new animal drugs, or examining alternatives. The influence that industry now wields over every aspect of the scientific discourse has allowed companies to commercialise potentially unsafe animal drugs with virtually no independent scrutiny.

Find out what needs to be done in the report, Corporate Control in Animal Science Research.

EU Vote Key to Keeping Clones Out of Our Food

January 16, 2015—Brussels. Next Wednesday, members of the EU Environment Committee will vote on measures that are a critical step toward keeping clones out of Europe’s food supply.

The European Commission is proposing a new regulation that clarifies and consolidates the rules governing the trade and import of breeding animals and their breeding material, like semen, ova and embryos, which are routinely used to breed farm animals.

MEPs have tabled amendments to the proposed regulation that would require the documentation that already accompanies such transactions to indicate if the animal or breeding material is the product of cloning or clone descendants.

Food & Water Europe Food Policy Analyst Eve Mitchell said, “Congratulations to our MEPs for spotting that the Commission seems to have forgotten about clones in its draft. Farmers have a right to know what they are buying, and we need to know where clones are so we can keep them out of our food.”

The EU trade in breeding material with the U.S. is a particular concern because the U.S. Food and Drug Administration considers clones safe to eat and does not require any labeling. In 2010 the U.S. Secretary for Agriculture admitted he didn’t know if clones are in the U.S. food supply. What’s worse, there is only a voluntary moratorium standing between EU importers and U.S. farmers or breeders. “Europe needs to protect itself with reasonable controls,” said Mitchell. “Cloning for food should be an open and shut case.”

In 2008 the European Group on Ethics in Science and Technology said cloning for food is not justified because of the suffering it causes. The Parliament voted for a full ban on all clones and their offspring in July 2010, and called for a formal moratorium until such laws could be brought forward. In 2011 the Commission, Council and Parliament all agreed that tracing clones would be needed for whatever rules on cloning are finally enacted.

Yet the Commission isn’t keeping up. It tabled “provisional” rules in 2013 that ban food from clones but not food from clone offspring. Those rules also controversially rejected the Parliament’s call for clear labels on such foods, offered as a compromise after years of wrangling over a ban, saying the work needed to secure labels would be “disproportionate” and therefore “cannot be justified” because it would require “meticulous investigation into the accompanying documentation”. This is exactly the kind of documentation discussed in this new regulation, so ensuring those papers note where cloning is used is essential for labeling if clone offspring are sold as food.

Mitchell added, “We are assured that our meat if fully traceable, and that this will be reinforced after the EU-wide contamination of meat supplies with horsemeat last year, so checking documentation cannot possibly be considered too onerous. Labels on meat from clone offspring are perfectly possible and the very least we should expect.”

Food & Water Europe believes the Commission approach to cloning in food is hypocritical and ethically indefensible. Since you can’t have clone offspring without clones, and since cloning is clearly cruel and unnecessary, all food from clones and their offspring should be banned. Anything short of a full ban makes clear labels non-negotiable.

Mitchell said, “The revelation in August 2010 that clones were in the UK food supply clearly demonstrated the need for regulation and enforcement. We must ensure that any new laws are future proofed to enable the full ban on clones and their offspring in our food that the Parliament, the public and common sense demand.”

Eve Mitchell, Food & Water Europe (UK time), +44(0)1381 610 740, [email protected]

Alliance Calls for Halt to GM Crops in Spain: GM Contamination Threatens Non-GM Farming in Europe



En Espagnol

Brussels and Madrid – While European decision makers argue over approving new genetically modified (GM) crops, a Spanish alliance of farmers and environmentalists led by Food & Water Europe demanded radical change in the European Union’s GM cultivation policy. The alliance says the results of a survey of organic farmers in the U.S. shows widespread GM contamination, proving that GM “coexistence” has failed and that the resulting costs and extra work are carried by non-GM farmers. [1] This is a clear warning for Spain, the only EU country growing GM crops on a large scale and where there are likely to be more GM crops soon if approvals in the pipeline for new GM maize varieties come through.

“The situation in the U.S. should be a clear warning for Spain and the rest of the EU not to make the same mistakes,” said David Sánchez, campaign officer at Food & Water Europe. “So-called ‘coexistence’ as promoted by the GM industry is simply impossible, as farmers in both the U.S. and Spain already know.”

The survey, published first in the U.S. by Food & Water Watch and the Organic Farmers’ Agency for Relationship Marketing [2] and released today in Europe, documents the added burden organic and non-GM farmers face, including the increased costs of trying to prevent contamination, extra labour, longer hours and financial insecurity due to economic losses when contamination occurs. The survey shows: 

  • Economic costs of preventive measures to avoid GMOs can reach more than €6,119 (US$8,500) per year, including buffer zones, delaying planting and testing among others.
  • One out of three responding farmers have dealt with GMO contamination in their farm. They reported a median cost of €3,240 (US$4,500). Of those contaminated farmers, over half have had crops rejected by their buyers.
  • Other consequences include abandoning crops with GM varieties approved or strained relations between neighbours.

“Farmers in Spain are already facing the same insecurity and lack of legal protection as U.S. colleagues, even though there is only one GM crop approved in the EU. Preventive measures and their costs should not be carried by the farmers that chose not to grow GMOs,” said Andoni García, member of the board of the Spanish Coordination of Farmers (COAG).

The Spanish organic cattle industry is also seriously affected by GM contamination. Forced to import maize from other countries that do not grow GM crops, farmers need to pay extra costs to guarantee GM-free feed. [3]

Considering the situation in the U.S., the COAG, Ecologistas en Acción, Friends of the Earth Spain and Food & Water Europe demand European authorities, including the Spanish Government, reverse current GMO crop policy.

“Organic farming is a growing sector that creates employment and puts new energies in rural areas. Protecting its development means we urgently need to stop growing GM crops in Spain. We cannot be the back door for GM crops into Europe any longer,” added Blanca G. Ruibal, food and farming campaigner at Friends of the Earth Spain. 

For more information:

David Sánchez, Campaign Officer, Food & Water Europe +32 485842604

Andoni García Arriola, member of the board of COAG, +34 636 451 569

Blanca G. Ruibal, Food Campaigner, Friends of the Earth Spain, +34 691471389

Gabriela Vázquez, spokesperson, Ecologistas en Acción, +34 635 170495


[1] The report “Organic Farmers Pay the Price for GMO Contamination “ (“Los agricultores ecológicos pagan el precio de la contaminación por transgénicos”) can be downloaded in Spanish and English.

[2] Food & Water Europe is the European program of Food & Water Watch, a nonprofit consumer organization based in the United States that works to ensure the food, water and fish we consume is safe, accessible and sustainable. So we can all enjoy and trust in what we eat and drink, we help people take charge of where their food comes from, keep clean, affordable, public tap water flowing freely to our homes, protect the environmental quality of oceans, force government to do its job protecting citizens, and educate about the importance of keeping shared resources under public control.

Organic Farmers’ Agency for Relationship Marketing is a cooperative incorporated in the State of Minnesota as a marketing-agency-in-common to support organic producer and their group marketing efforts through cooperatives and farmer association. Current efforts include organic grain, livestock and dairy. Member associations/cooperatives have organic producer members in 18 states from Montana to Texas to Tennessee to Ohio and Michigan and all states in between.

[3] Questionnaire about the socio-economic implications of the placing on the market of GMOs for cultivation. A diagnosis by Spanish organizations: COAG, Ecologistas en Acción, Friends of the Earth Spain, Greenpeace and CECU

EU Version – Biotech Ambassadors: How the U.S. State Department Promotes the Seed Industry’s Global Agenda



Agricultural development is essential for the developing world to foster sustainable economies, enhance food security to combat global hunger and increase resiliency to climate change. Addressing these challenges will require diverse strategies that emphasize sustainable, productive approaches that are directed by countries in the developing world.


But in the past decade, the United States has aggressively pursued foreign policies in food and agriculture that benefit the largest seed companies. The U.S. State Department has launched a concerted strategy to promote agricultural biotechnology, often over the opposition of the public and governments, to the near exclusion of other more sustainable, more appropriate agricultural policy alternatives.

The U.S. State Department has also lobbied foreign governments to adopt pro-agricultural biotechnology policies and laws, operated a rigorous public relations campaign to improve the image of biotechnology and challenged commonsense biotechnology safeguards and rules — even including opposing laws requiring the labeling of genetically engineered (GE) foods.

Food & Water Watch closely examined five years of State Department diplomatic cables from 2005 to 2009 to provide the first comprehensive analysis of the strategy, tactics and U.S. foreign policy objectives to foist pro-agricultural biotechnology policies worldwide. Read the full report to learn more.

Monsanto: A Corporate Profile


FoodCommon Resources


Monsanto is a global agricultural biotechnology company that specializes in genetically modified (GM) seeds and herbicides, most notably Roundup herbicide and GM Roundup Ready seed. GM seeds have been altered with inserted genetic material to exhibit traits that repel pests or withstand the application of herbicides. In 2009, in the United States alone, nearly all (93 percent) of soybeans and four-fifths (80 percent) of corn were grown with seeds containing Monsanto-patented genetics. The company’s power and influence affects not only the global agricultural industry, but also political campaigns, regulatory processes and the structure of agriculture systems all over the world.



The Perils of the Global Soy Trade: Economic, Environmental and Social Impacts




Globalization has fundamentally changed agriculture across Europe. The idyllic image of small farms with sustainable agriculture has been replaced with agricultural cogs producing food-ingredient inputs for international industrial agri-businesses. The pork chops and chickens on European tables begin their lives far away on soybean plantations in Latin America, where the feed for European livestock is harvested.

The international tentacles of the food chain tie deforestation in Brazil and Argentina to factory-farmed livestock in Europe. International trade agreements like the World Trade Organization facilitated the global corporate agri-business network that delivers soybeans and maize from Latin America to giant pig and chicken holdings in Europe and finally to a handful of supermarket chains.The beneficiaries of deregulated trade in agricultural goods have been the international grain traders, the investors in Latin American plantations, and the largest meatpacking and supermarket chains.

This paper connects the dots between the global agricultural commodity trade and the real-life impacts on consumers, rural communities in Europe and Latin America, and the environment. Findings include:

  • European feed imports surged since the WTO went into effect. Since 1995, soy meal imports from outside the European Union to the 15 member states prior to 2004 (EU-15) grew 57.1 percent to 20.2 million metric tonnes in 2007. Total maize imports nearly doubled to 21.6 million metric tonnes.
  • Soy exports from Latin America fueled deforestation. Four-fifths of EU soymeal imports came from Brazil and Argentina. The demand for more soybeans has been a key catalyst for clearing 44.5 million acres of forests in these two countries.
  • Powerful soy interests drive small farmers off the land. Soybean plantations in Argentina and Brazil average about 1,000 hectares, but can be between 10,000 and 50,000 hectares. These large farms concentrate the land in the hands of a cadre of powerful investors and landowners, hurting indigenous farmers. There have even been reported cases of exploitation and enslavement of soy workers in Brazil.
  • Industrial soy plantations feed European livestock genetically modified (GM) feed. In 2009, Brazil and Argentina were the second- and third-largest cultivators of GM crops (herbicide-tolerant or insect-resistant engineered seeds), growing 42.7 million hectares of GM soybeans, maize and cotton combined.
  • Soybean imports supersized European pig and chicken farms. Low-priced soybean meal has helped reduce the number of European pig and chicken farmers and expand the scale of the remaining farms to gargantuan proportions. In 2007, 74 million pigs were fattened on the largest 1 percent of holdings — half of all pigs in the EU.

None of this is inevitable. Just as we created these changes, we can fix the problems with a few straightforward steps. Agriculture should be removed from the binding strictures of international trade agreements; nations should pursue farm policies that promote sustainable production, food sovereignty and food security for their populations; and food should be labeled to show the full life cycle of its production, including GM feed labeling for meat and dairy products. These are concrete steps we can take immediately to address the problems raised by the international soy and feed industrial complex and move toward improved food sovereignty in the EU and in countries that supply our food.