”Monsanto’s Harvest of fear” by Donald Bartlett Article Reading Quiz

  1. Characterize the beginning of Bartlett and Steele’s article in terms of tone, narrative approach, and style.

The tone is Nostalgic; bitter and. the narrator shows how Rinehart remembers vividly with lots of anger about the Monsanto’s raid at his shop which led to an embarrassment before his customers.

The narrative approach is Omniscient Narration, Single Character Point of View. The third-person narrator is generally reliable, omniscient, and ubiquitous in terms of knowing all about one character and presents the story from one character’s vantage point. The narrator tells of Rinehart encounter in an omniscient way, giving us what Rinehart knows about his town and Monsanto’s activities in the town.

The narrative style includes telling an event with characters and dialogues in it. It has definite and logical beginnings, intervals, and endings. Finally, it concludes with a conflict and its solutions

  1. According to Bartlett and Steele, Monsanto knows when farmers are violating patent law by

c). Using covert tactics like secret videotape, impersonating surveyors, and infiltrating meetings.

  1. According to Bartlett and Steels, why would Monsanto want to prohibit farmers from re-planting seeds saved after harvest?

The company is simply protecting and defending its patents against those who might infringe upon them. This is because the company spends millions in performing research that aids the identification, development, and bringing to the market innovative farming technologies and seeds that are extremely beneficial to the farmers.

  1. Why do Bartlett and Steele provide the information on page1 that one of Paul Bremer’s last acts as head of the Coalition provisional authority of Iraq was to prohibit farmers from re-using seeds of protected varieties?

To show that laws governing a company or patents by virtue extends to all countries or territories the company chooses to conduct its business in. if Monsanto transacts business in Iraq then its Iraqi customers have to comply with Monsanto’s terms.

  1. Based on the middle half on page 2, describe Monsanto, as characterized by Bartlett and Steele.(do not use quotes in your description)

Monsanto is ruthless in the manner it acquires information by intimidating, threatening, and coercing farmers to give up information or the Monsanto seeds they have. It is uncivil, unapologetic, and secretive in the way it collects evidence files lawsuits and deals with law verdicts. They violate people’s rights to privacy within their own property. They are overprotective of their products and controlling to the farmers. They are blackmailers since they prohibit farmers from planting their collected seeds yet farmers alternatives is to keep buying new seeds from them.

  1. Bartlett and Steele transition between two paragraphs this way: ”the co-op has seven full-time employees and four computers. In the fall of 2006, Monsanto trained its legal guns on pilot grove; ever since, its farmers have been drawn into a costly, disruptive legal battle against an opponent with limitless resources.” what is the effect of this transition?

The transitions introduce us to Pivot Grove Co-op, another victim of Monsanto law suits. It gives us the background information about the co-op before proceeding into the details.

How does it relate to the remainder of the ”scorched earth” section?

The transition later relates to how Monsanto and its associated legal team conduct their ruthless lawsuits and how secretive they have been. The scorched earth is a symbol of how tough and thorough Monsanto are when searching for evidence of seed piracy. They demand for the hard drives of the four computers; their intensive videotape investigations on co-op employees; record of purchase of sale of fertilizes and seeds; suing the co-op for cleaning the seeds and filing suits on farmers for engaging in seed piracy.

  1. Provide at least three pieces of evidence that suggest Monsanto was aware of toxicity of its products.

Polychlorinated biphenyls, (PCBs), and dioxin were produced earlier but now are not being produce. It is evidenced by Dioxin a by-product of “weed Bug” being linked to liver diseases, human reproductive disorders and heart diseases by international agency for Research on cancer in 1997.

In March 8, 1949, an in explosion on Nitro plant caused a plume of vapor and white that led to the systemic intoxication of the workers thus damaging their major organ systems that was characterized by skin eruption on workers. Many were soon diagnosed with chloracne; others felt intense pains in their legs, chest, and trunk. A total of 226 plant workers became ill.

In 1965, Monsanto tried to sell Pydraul 150 to the navy. Test done by the navy showed that Pydraul 150 caused death to all the rabbits tested hence declined the offer.

PCBs were found in elevated levels in houses yards, lawns, fish, wildlife and people living in Anniston a move that saw Monsanto and Solutia clean up the town. When a biologist submerged his test fish in a stream near Anniston, all 25 fish lost equilibrium and died in 3.5 minutes.

  1. Bartlett and Steele quote Monsanto’s arguments that today the company can be trusted, and that ”its biotech crops are ‘ as wholesome, nutritious and safe as conventional crops,’ and that mild from cows infected with its artificial growth hormone is the same as, and as safe as, milk from another other cow.” based on Bartlett and Steele’s report up to this point, do you find Monsanto’s claims believable?

The claim is not believable since Monsanto again used it tactics to compel its competitor, Kleinpeter, to remove its advertisement slogan “From Cows Not Treated with rBGH”

What is the effect of Bartlett and Steele providing Monsanto’s argument that it is a trustworthy company?

It raises doubts people have on Monsanto’s products. Prior knowledge, it prompts researchers to find out more on the rGBH hormone and consumers are cautious of what they eat.

  1. What is the effect of Bartlett and Steele’s presentation of information about the numerous individuals who have worked both for Monsanto and the federal government?

It presents Monsanto as being a beneficiary of the favors of the individuals who handled matters between Monsanto and other parties. The company may have indirectly benefited from these instances: FDA approval of artificial growth hormone, G.M.-seed patent-rights case in 2001 and acquisition of Searle Pharmaceuticals through the individuals.

  1. Bartlett and Steele discuss labels on food and milk: are you food choice informed by label information? Why or why not?

I make choices by being informed by label information since as a customer; I have a right to know the contents of whatever I am eating. I must be careful not to ingest chemicals that jeopardize my health. In addition, there is no state law to   restrict labeling on food products hence I get the information on most products.

  1. Characterize the overall tone of Bartlett and Steele’s report.

The tone is critical and argumentative as the report dwells on the negatives of Monsanto from the beginning to the end. The general report is inclined to judge severely and find fault. It gives supportive evidence on the ills of the company since its inception.  The reports unearth the companies doing in a derogatory manner i.e. it provides evidence for every accusation it makes. Farmer’s raids, coop lawsuits, and intoxications. The writers even title the report as “Monsanto’s Harvest of Fear” which is a negative critic statement.

  1. A report should have a tone that informs rather than argues. Does Bartlett and Steele’s report inform or argue? Explain (using specific example).

The report argues since it gives a two-dimensional view of the matter. They give their own researched facts then give Monsanto’s or any third party counter-view of what they argue.

For example, the report presents a scene of how Monsanto goes after farmers in rural America where they secretly videotape and photograph farmers, and gather information from informants about farming activities. It also source information from farmers who label the Monsanto as seed police by words such as “Gestapo” and Mafia.

However, the report also gives Monsanto’s defense on the allegation. Monsanto says they are protecting their patents and, if necessary, provide legal defense to the patents against those who may opt to infringe upon them. Their spokesperson asserts, “While majority of seed dealers and farmers follow the agreements of licensing, “a tiny fraction” do not, and that Monsanto is oriented to those who do stick by its rules hence apply its patent rights on those who “enjoy the full advantages of the technology without paying duly for its use.”