On the occasion of the annual general meeting of BAYER shareholders at WCCB in Bonn on May 25th, multiple events and protests took place in Germany under the motto « Stop Bayer-Monsanto », along with a strong request to institutional bodies for concrete signals of commitment and the will to exit the pesticides trap.
The series of events was kicked off in Düsseldorf with the « March Against Monsanto, Bayer & BASF » on May 19.
In Bonn, on May 24, international guests held a press conference, organised by IFOAM – Organics International in cooperation with the Coalition Against BAYER-Dangers and Navdanya International. The guests were also keynote speakers at the panel discussion at the Brückenforum on the same evening.
Dr. Vandana Shiva (India), ecologist, activist, president of Navdanya International, talked about the reason why people’s resistance to the Poison Cartel and to giant agribusiness mergers is important and what citizens can do to create the alternative: “More and more countries are clearing the planned BAYER MONSANTO merger. Obviously neither governments nor antitrust authorities are ready to oppose corporate interests. It is therefore important that people themselves make a stand against the power of the agro-industry and advocate for sustainable and ecological agriculture« .
Alan Tygel, activist and coordinator of the national campaign against agricultural poisons in Brazil, described the situation in the country and gave insights about the resistance to agrichemicals in Latin America: « Brazil is Europe’s dumping ground for agricultural poisons. Anything that cannot be used here and that is banned, is sent to us across the Atlantic. Then in return we export – especially to the EU – foods that are contaminated with chemical residues. Polluters make enormous profits, while in Brazil we get pollution, disease and massive violation of human rights ».
Other participants in the panel discussion were Jan Pehrke, of the Board of the Coordination against BAYER dangers, and Harald Ebner (Bündnis 90 / The Greens), member of the Bundestag, pesticides and GMO expert, who also spoke at the protest rally in front of the WCCB, where several hundred demonstrators had gathered, as well as at the Bayer shareholders meeting on May 25. Harald Ebner said, addressing the crowd of activists outside the building: “Mass insects die-offs, nitrates in aquifers, monocultures rather than diversity. All this makes clear that we need a change of direction in agriculture, towards eco-friendly solutions that can guarantee a future for the coming generations. What the merger of BAYER and Monsanto will bring us instead, are even more pesticides, genetic engineered crops and lawsuits against all laws protecting environment and health”.
Later, more than 30 speakers made critical statements in front of the audience of the annual Bayer shareholders general meeting itself, thanks to the coordination of CBG.
The numerous activists who spoke at the shareholders’ meeting have shown that opposition from civil society movements will not stop, in spite of the fact that the merger is getting closer to the final approval. According to Jan Pehrke, of CBG: « From beekepers and local organic farming organizations, to world known activists as Vandana Shiva, today in Bonn the vastness of the opposition front to the merger was represented. We are conscious that the only way Bayer can do the interests of big investors like Black Rock & Co is to sell more and more agro-toxic and GMOs without worrying about putting global food security at risk by creating a monopoly. We will therefore continue to resist and Bayer can be sure that they will find us here next year « .
Vandana Shiva speaks out against the poison cartel. Stop the #Bayer – Monsanto Merger! @GMWatch @regeneration_in @OrganicConsumer @RachelsNews @PeggyMiars @SumOfUs #baysanto pic.twitter.com/yIqIDR0XDC
— IFOAM (@IFOAMorganic) May 25, 2018