– Busted: Biotech Leader ‘Syngenta’ Charged Over Covering Up Animal Deaths from GM Corn (Natural Society, June 15, 2012):
In a riveting victory against genetically modified creations, a major biotech company known as Syngenta has been criminally charged for denying knowledge that its GM Bt corn actually kills livestock. What’s more is not only did the company deny this fact, but they did so in a civil court case that ended back in 2007. The charges were finally issued after a long legal struggle against the mega corp initiated by a German farmer named Gottfried Gloeckner whose dairy cattle died after eating the Bt toxin and coming down with a ‘mysterious’ illness.
Grown on his own farm from 1997 to 2002, the cows on the farm were all being fed exclusively on Syngenta’s Bt 176 corn by the year 2000. It was around this time that the mysterious illnesses began to emerge among the cattle population. Syngenta paid Gloeckner 40,000 euros in an effort to silence the farmer, however a civil lawsuit was brought upon the company. Amazingly, 2 cows ate genetically modified maize (now banned in Poland over serious concerns) and died. During the civil lawsuit, however, Syngenta refused to admit that its GM corn was responsible. In fact, they went as far as to claim having no knowledge whatsoever of harm.
The case was dismissed and Gloeckner, the farmer who launched the suit, was left thousands of euros in debt. And that’s not all; Gloeckner continued to lose many cows as a result of Syngenta’s modified Bt corn. After halting the use of GM feed in 2002, Gloeckner attempted a full investigation with the Robert Koch Institute and Syngenta involved. The data of this investigation is still unavailable to the public, and only examined one cow. In 2009, however, the Gloeckner teamed up with a German action group known as Bündnis Aktion Gen-Klage and to ultimately bring Syngenta to the criminal court.
Using the testimony of another farmer whose cows died after eating Syngenta product, Gloeckner and the team have charged the biotech giant for the death of over 65 cows, withholding knowledge of the death-link, and holding the corporation liable for not registering the cattle deaths. The team is even charging Hans-Theo Jahmann, the German head of Syngenta , personally over the withholding of knowledge.
The charges bring to light just how far large biotechnology companies will go to conceal evidence linking their genetically modified products to serious harm. Monsanto, for example, has even threatened to sue the entire state of Vermont if they attempt to label its genetically modified ingredients. Why are they so afraid of the consumer knowing what they are putting in their mouths?