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Farmers’s Victory over Monsanto

Ceyda Turan, 26 October 2008

Ontario’s Northumberland and Quinte West farmers are celebrating a notable victory over Monsanto. The agricultural biotech giant is pulling out of the cow hormone business opposed by the farmers. Mansonto announced it was going to sell Posilac to drug maker Eli Lilly and Co.

Posilac is the brand name of rBGH (recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone), a genetically engineered hormone injected into dairy cows to increase milk production. There has been a lot of debate about how safe it is for humans- and for cows. The use of the hormone forces cows to raise milk production by about 10%, while increasing the incidences of mastitis, lameness, and reproductive complications.

The Renfrew County National Farmers Union took part in a national campaign involving about 120 organizations to convince the federal government to ban its use on Canadian dairy farms. The more than 50,000 names on the petitions, cards and letters landed on the desk of the Minister of Agriculture during the campaign.

Dave Mackay, president of the Renfrew County chapter of the National Farmers Union (NFU) said Monsanto was getting out of the hormone business because of on-going public opposition. “We are pleased. I think we have won. Obviously, these guys are moving on.”