Why is the University of Illinois Receiving $1 Million from Monsanto?

Why is the University of Illinois Receiving $1 Million from Monsanto?
Political Health

Monsanto likes to say that those of us against GMOs don’t use ‘real’ science to support claims that genetically modified crops are unsafe, but what about dirty money that infiltrates universities which supposedly do ‘good’ science on GM crops, soil, and the chemicals which are used to grow them?

A recent New York Times article exposed some of Monsanto’s infiltration into the world of ‘science,’ but a deeper inquiry into the emails coming forward through this article and from U.S. Right to Know public disclosure efforts shows a broader and more troubling picture of influence the agricultural sciences are under.

At just a tip of the glyphosate iceberg there is a professor emeritus at the University of Illinois, Bruce Chassy, who in an August 29, 2011 email to Eric Sachs of Monsanto. He reportedly suggests that the Ag industry trade group CropLife, of which Monsanto and other biotech companies are members, pay his way to do a speaking engagement on the other side of the world.

In a separate email, Monsanto’s Sachs also suggests to Chassy that he participate in an American Medical Association meeting to try to dissuade the AMA from supporting mandatory labeling of GE foods. This is just one of the intriguing relationships between scientists and Biotech that are coming to light.

Then there’s Agrochemical company Dow’s reminder to David Shaw, a Mississippi State University weed scientist, that the company has been very generous to the University. Shaw was urged to submit comments to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to approve Dow’s Enlist soybeans, and provides three pages of helpful suggestions about topics and arguments.

The Enlist crops are resistant to glyphosate and 2,4-D herbicides, and are the industry’s response to the epidemic of glyphosate-resistant weeds caused by the first generation of glyphosate-resistant crops. Shaw even drafted his comments and submitted them back to Dow before sending them forward. Where is the scientific integrity in that?

There are also some emails sent to Professor Mike Owen, a weed scientist at Iowa State from Monsanto, explaining how Owen can counter public concerns over dicamba, another toxic chemical being used to grow GM crops.

There are others to professors at Mississippi State, and who know how many other emails will surface showing that the biotech industry is intent on infiltrating the ‘science’ behind GMO support at any cost.

While this is not bullet-proof evidence of collusion between the industry and academics, it is part of a bigger pattern of exclusion and intimidation that has been linked to biotech industry influence.

There have been numerous “generous” donations from Monsanto to universities, such US$1 million from Monsanto to Iowa State University for the “Monsanto Student Services Wing,” in 2012, Monsanto Student Travel awards, or US$1 million for a community center at the University of Missouri in 2012, among many examples of industry funding of academia.

Does any real proof of the dangers of GMOs get past a wall of scientific and biotech collusion like this one?