Killing Fields: The Battle to Feed Factory Farms
By Albert Villareal
When you need more room for more crops, but don’t have it, what do you do? If you are a factory farm operation, you might start taking over land on another continent. You could, for example, use 2.6 million hectares of land in Paraguay. If that land happens to be covered by rainforest, you just mow it down. What about the indigenous people that live there? You simply dump toxic pesticides on the area until it becomes impossible to live there and the locals leave “voluntarily.” How do you get away with this atrocity? Well, it’s much easier if nobody knows what you’re doing.
This short video on the web seeks to correct that knowledge deficiency. There are a few more details which make the whole thing even worse. The crops being planted are one of the factory farm favorites—soy. Of course it has to be Monsanto’s roundup ready soy (genetically modified). These massive tracts of rainforest land turned to soy fields primarily supply Europe, whose local farmers can’t compete with the cheap imports. But they are not really cheap.
About ninety thousand families per year are “persuaded” to abandon their land when the cloud of chemicals becomes too thick. Not everyone even survives to get out. We get an up close look at one boy who was paralyzed (they used to call it polio) and eventually died from the chemicals. Almost all of this soy in Paraguay is controlled by the usual suspects—Monsanto, Bunge, ADM and Cargill.
This film was a joint effort of Friends of the Earth and Food & Water Watch. It was produced to alert Europeans in particular to the true cost of their supposedly cheap food. They also are promoting political action to support more local, non-factory farming and labeling of food from genetically modified sources. I wish them well and give their film a THUMBS UP.
This article appeared in Wise Traditions in Food, Farming and the Healing Arts, the quarterly magazine of the Weston A. Price Foundation, Winter 2009.