Posted: May 27, 2013 11:17 AM by MTN News
Updated: May 27, 2013 11:18 AM
Hundreds of thousands of people across the country and the world joined together over the weekend to protest the use of Monsanto products in big-brand food companies.
Hundreds of people turned out in several Montana communities to participate in March Against Monsanto. Protests were held in Bozeman, Missoula, Kalispell and Billings.
The U.S. Congress recently passed what's come to be known as the "Monsanto Protection Act," which bans courts from halting the sale of Monsanto's genetically modified seeds.
The decision has some people questioning the long-term health risks that come with consuming food that contain unlabeled GMOs.
Protesters say the event gave them a chance to voice their concerns on a national level and raise awareness about what they believe are the negative effects of Monsanto products.
"It's exciting to see all of this come together. I think that the global aspect of it has really drawn out the folks that have been having coffee table conversations about Monsanto and now they're coming out and sharing it, uniting and making a difference. I really believe that this will make a difference," March Against Monsanto Kalispell spokeswoman Naomi Morrison said.
Meanwhile, hundreds of Missoulians also took part in the Monsanto protest with folks of all ages chanting on the street at the Missoula County Courthouse with signs.
Community members marched to Caras Park for a two-hour event encouraging people to sign a petition that will be sent to U.S. Senator Jon Tester (D-MT), demanding the labeling of GMO products on store shelves.
In Billings, people rallied on the Yellowstone County Courthouse lawn. Group members say they're concerned with food safety, a monopoly on seed sales, and the loss of seed diversity.
"Things that are in your processed food like the corn and the sugar beets and the soy, are all genetically modified," said Shannon Kahler, who organized the Billings rally. "And just having a label to say those products are in there so that we can make healthier choices."
A spokesman for Monsanto told MTN News that the company is concerned about farm productivity, food quality and the environment.
"While we respect each individual's right to express their point of view on these topics... we believe we are making a contribution to improving agriculture by helping farmers produce more from their land while conserving natural resources such as water and energy," Monsanto spokesman Tom Helscher said.