By Isabelle Z.
Bayer and Monsanto are facing some tough opposition in their quest to get their merger cleared by antitrust regulators. A number of concerned environmental groups are putting up a fight, but one of the most vocal detractors comes in the form of the Incredible Hulk.
Actor Mark Ruffalo, who played the character in two of the Avengers films, joined a chorus of voices calling on US Attorney General Loretta Lynch and EU antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager to block the merger. An August 7 tweet from the actor using the hashtag #MergerFromHell says the merger would be a “disaster for the global food supply.”
It’s easy to see why he is so outraged by the potential move, which would create the biggest producer of pesticides and seeds on the planet. An agreement is expected within the next two weeks that would set the stage for the two firms to seek antitrust approval.
Ruffalo just one of many who oppose the merger
Ruffalo is far from the only person to take such a strong stance against the merger of two companies that many feel are responsible for many of the evils facing the world today. Mike Adams, the Health Ranger and Food Forensics author, called it “the perfect match made in chemical Hell,” and summarized the situation quite nicely when he wrote:
Imagine all the world’s most toxic, deadly, cancer-causing agricultural chemicals being owned by a single globalist corporate monstrosity that also controls the genetically engineered seeds used to monopolize food production. What could possibly go wrong?
Consumer groups and environmental groups alike have been calling on regulators to block the deal. Several European Parliament members have started petitions stating that such a transaction would dominate the European seed market and further limit the choices available.
Bayer and Monsanto prepared to fight
The deal would cause Monsanto’s dominance in the seed and herbicide industry to grow and get rid of direct competition between the companies, which could adversely affect research and development in the future. This could also lead to higher food prices. Monsanto and Bayer together already account for 70 percent of the cotton acreage in the U.S.
Of course, the firms are used to opposition. European campaigners have long been trying to halt the production of genetically-modified plants, bee-killing pesticides and carcinogenic weed killers. Both companies have teams of lawyers and PR people who are quite skilled at spinning the situation in their favor, however, while their government connections and deep pocketbooks ensure that their interests are protected.
The head of crop science at Bayer, Liam Condon, thinks that any competition issues could be avoided simply by selling off some smaller divisions. European Parliament Green Party spokesman, Richard More O’Ferrall, said: “Given that the ostensible aim of this merger is market dominance, it’s hard to see how some token splits would ease concerns.”
In a letter to German politicians last month, Vestager said that her goal as EU antitrust head was ensuring access to quality food for European consumers at affordable prices, and she said that the bid would be investigated very carefully. She added that concerns about the merger’s effect on prices, availability, and research and development would all be considered.
Ruffalo has long had his eye on Monsanto’s unethical practices. In a piece for Eco Watch last December that the actor penned personally, he outlined exactly why he thinks Monsanto CEO Hugh Grant is a horrible person. In fact, he happened to run into him in a CBS green room and told him to his face: “You are wrong. You are engaged in monopolizing food. You are poisoning people. You are killing small farms. You are killing bees. What you are doing is dead wrong.”
Other works by Isabelle Z.
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