“Hungary has taken a bold stand against biotech giant Monsanto and genetic modification by destroying 1000 acres of maize found to have been grown with genetically modified seeds, according to Hungary deputy state secretary of the Ministry of Rural Development Lajos Bognar.”
“Hungarian citizens have located and destroyed (nearly) 1000 acres of cornfields that were found to be grown with GMO seeds supplied by Monsanto”
I had come across this news often. It’s been shared thousands of times in Facebook, twitter, etc. We would have a picture of a beautiful cornfield and the following news. I was initially kind of happy (but I haven’t shared this in social media) that some people are taking hard stand against a Corporate, which had cursed the human race, spewing out infamous products ranging from ‘Agent Orange’ to ‘Round-Up’. But, at the same time, considering the false information circulating around social media, one has also needed to ask ‘Is this true?’ If you google ‘Hungary GMO’ or ‘Hungary Monsanto’, you would find lot of blogs and websites, carrying this news. It might make us feel reassured.
Most of the pages carrying this news had gone for 1000k+ shares. But, when exactly did this burning of GMO crops by watchful Hungarian citizens happened. Don’t you know stupid? Just on April 2016. No, no here is a news article released in May 20th 2015, where the proud Hungarians burned down 1000 acres of maize fields. Oh, wait a minute, isn’t that corn fields? May be, but who cares? Some GMO crops in Hungary were burned. Then, if you kept on searching, you might find a June 2013 article or may be a February 2011 article, claiming 1000s of acres of GMO crops were destroyed. The same news article goes back to the year 2009. It makes us wonder how many thousands of acres of GMO crops were destroyed in Hungary. At this rate, the whole of Hungary would have been burned down by now. And, all the articles bear the name of Ministry of Rural Development Lajos Bognar (even the ones after 2014). Significant information is that Lajos Bognar was replaced by Sandor Fazekas, back in 2014 itself (source: website of Hungarian government – kormany.hu).
But, still at least when it comes to burning of corn or maize fields, Lajos Bognar is the agriculture & rural development minister of Hungary. A discussion thread in ‘reddit site’ has asked the same question that had haunted my mind (this was in 2013). Whether the burning of GMO crops in Hungary is true? And why the various sites are telling the same information, over the years, as if it happened yesterday? The truthfulness regarding the angry citizens of Hungary, setting fire to crops is still a mystery. Even though, we could trace back the same bit of news to 2010 or 2011, we can’t be sure whether this thing really happened. As for the second question, the answer is pure laziness on the part of anti-GMO activists. When they have run out of new information against Monsanto or GMO, they are just regurgitating old, doubtful articles to keep on proving their stand. Rather than talking about the dangers of GMO or Monsanto’s diabolic strategies, these activist sites are just vomiting out baseless, emotional news to make a stupid argument against GMO.
Wikipedia article on ‘Regulation of the release of genetically modified organisms’ states that Hungarian government, in January 2005, has banned the import and planting of genetically modified maize seeds, which was also authorized by European Union (EU). Of course, there are discrepancies in Wikipedia too, but the source for his news was the site ‘nature biotechnology’. The same information was also confirmed in Hungarian government site. On June 2014, Minister Fazekas stated that a political agreement between Hungary and Ministers of Environment of the European Union’s member states was made to prohibit the cultivation of genetically modified crops. On January 13, 2015, in the European Parliament, members voted in favor of a legislative amendment that will enable its member states to ban the cultivation of GMO. On May 2015, Hungary introduced new GMO regulations, and was the first nation in EU to impose the regulations. The nation’s Ministry of Agriculture also initiated ‘Alliance for a GMO-Free Europe’ initiative. The Hungarian export companies have widened their opportunities as China and many Middle-East nations are looking for food imports. There were also other nations that banned the cultivation and import of GMOs in Europe like France, Austria, Hungary, Greece and Luxembourg.
When Hungary’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Mr. Peter Szijarto visited US in February this year, there were speculations about Hungary’s GMO-free stand. Minister Szijarto clearly commented that “Red lines do exist for Hungary at the negotiations, including keeping GMO-free. We do not want to give up these rights”. Wikileaks organization released confidential cables claiming that US threatened nations, which opposed Monsanto’s GMO. The cables also reported that many American diplomats directly worked for Monsanto and that the Spanish government secretly corresponded with US government to conspire against the decision taken on GMO by EU nations like France, Hungary, etc. Of course, Wikileaks haven’t mentioned their source and strong evidences connecting US government officials and Monsanto.
The instant decision to burn the GMO crops may be newsworthy and give some of us a jubilant reading experience. But, the fight against GMO or Monsanto isn’t that simple. A stronger, unwavering government and individuals are a must for the fight. Individuals not swayed over by their personal bias and emotions. What the activists or sonetivists or socially conscious individuals need to do is to be on the prowl against corporate propaganda and fallacies; not make their own false propaganda or regurgitate old news from the web. Few Angry people burning down a defective thing is not so important than a government taking the right stand against multi-million dollar corporations.