SALT LAKE CITY -- Activists against genetically modified crops rallied at the Utah State Capitol Saturday afternoon for the annual March Against Monsanto.
Activists marched in the Salt Lake City rain, some in gas masks, holding signs, or dressed in costumes all in protest of the global giant seed producer Monsanto and genetically modified organisms.
“As a subcontractor, they actually provide the defoliants--which are basically chemicals and pesticides that are sprayed all over the Columbian countryside, so it’s not just that they are modifying foods or producing GMOs: they’re active participants in murdering the people of the world,” said Gregory Lucero, who is a Salt Lake City student activist.
Monsanto is the lead producer of GMOs--its scientists create seeds that are engineered to resist insecticide and herbicides and improve crop yields. The use of GMOs has been a growing issue of debate, with health advocates pushing for mandatory labeling of genetically modified products.
Genevieve Thomas was diagnosed with a severe form of crohns disease at 16. She spent years taking doctors’ orders, trying every prescription prescribed.
“I had run the whole gamut of, I mean I can't tell you how many medications I was on...morphine, steroids, all kinds of stuff,” Thomas said.
But nothing was working, nothing helped, until she changed the food she was eating and went organic.
“It started getting better, to a point where I was able to come off of everything,” Thomas said. “I’ve been off all of the drugs for probably about two and a half, three years now.”
Like many with chronic illness, Thomas blames GMOs for her health problems, but the Missouri-based company denies the allegations. A news release on the company's web site says GMOs are safe and that biotechnology has helped farmers grow more food while reducing the environmental impact of farming. Most importantly, genetically modified foods have a thoroughly tested, proven safety record.