Photos: Pro-Monsanto protest group on why GMOs aren't so bad

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Big photos below.
Earlier this week, we posted about Denver's March Against Monsanto, a Saturday rally and festival protesting the corporation most closely associated with genetically modified organisms, or GMOs; see photos from the event below.

Turns out, though, that a small handful of those present don't see anything wrong with GMOs. Though unaffiliated with Monsanto, they turned up to protest the protest

The person behind the Monsanto-supporting demonstration, as well as a Facebook page cheekily entitled The Monsanto Defense Fund, is Jake Browne, who's appeared in this space many times over recent years due to his affiliation with Denver Relief and the medical marijuana industry.

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Photo courtesy of Jake Browne
Three of the pro-Monsanto protesters.
He stresses that his efforts regarding GMOs aren't directly related to MMJ -- although he notes that "genetic modification is working really well for the weed world."

And the rest of the planet, too, Browne contends. "My friend and I started the Monsanto Defense Fund as a joke," he acknowledges. "But as we started doing more and more research, we found out that GMO crops are basically safe -- and they've gone through some of the most rigorous testing in modern agriculture."

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Photo courtesy of Jake Browne
That's Browne on the right.
These efforts have made an impact on what he describes as "critical thinkers." In a release, Browne states that "eighteen major scientific organizations have endorsed GM foods, including the American Medical Association, the National Academy of Sciences and the World Health Organization."

Moreover, he argues that those who warn about the dangers of GMOs "are using a lot of junk science to manipulate people who want to get involved, people with great intentions." He points to the Séralini study, conducted by Gilles-Eric Séralini, which purported to show that genetically modified corn caused tumors in rats. "Everyone from mainstream science who's reviewed it has disproven it quickly," Browne maintains, "and the scientist who conducted it is anti-GMO."

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Photo courtesy of Jake Browne
Browne engages one anti-GMO protester.
The study has its defenders, but it's been widely attacked as well; read more about it in this positive post, a negative one, and a Wikipedia page on the topic.

If GMOs are so great, why are so many people raising concerns about them? For one reason, Browne says, "there's a huge financial incentive for people who tell the public that they're not safe. People are starting their own organizations, people are shooting documentaries, selling T-shirts. There's big money to be made off of people's fear of GMO food."

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Photo courtesy of Jake Browne
Another conversation with an anti-Monsanto protester.
The same can't be said for touting it, at least in Browne's experience. With no assistance from Monsanto ("If we were working with them, we'd probably have had better signs," Browne says), a grand total of five people showed up to counter the March Against Monsanto in downtown this past weekend. And while Browne casts doubt on rally organizers' claims of attendance in the 1,500 to 2,000 range -- he thinks only about a hundred people took part in the march itself -- his forces were clearly outnumbered.

Fortunately, Browne, who says he's received death threats about his efforts, found the anti-Monsanto people on hand to be much more reasonable than anticipated. "We were very impressed," he concedes. "We told everybody we were there to peacefully protest and were engaged by a number of individuals who just wanted to talk -- who wanted to hear our side, and to tell us their side. We started a dialogue with a number of people, and we're going to continue that."

Look below to see Ambrose Cruz's photos of the main march courtesy of the March Against Monsanto Denver Facebook page as shared by Occupy Denver Facebook.

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Photo by Ambrose Cruz courtesy of March Against Monsanto Facebook/Occupy Denver FacebookOccupy Denver Facebook

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Photo by Ambrose Cruz courtesy of March Against Monsanto Facebook/Occupy Denver FacebookOccupy Denver Facebook

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Photo by Ambrose Cruz courtesy of March Against Monsanto Facebook/Occupy Denver FacebookOccupy Denver Facebook
Continue for more photos from Denver's March Against Monsanto on Saturday.

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79 comments
Radiant Sun
Radiant Sun

But in the 20 years since GMO crops first came on the market, studies have found that they have led to higher pesticide use, and no meaningful improvement in flavor, nutrition, yield or water requirements. Instead, what they've created are plants that are engineered to withstand massive dosing of toxic herbicides, and plants that function as living pesticide factories. Monsanto's Bt. corn, for example, is actually registered with the EPA as a pesticide. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ocean-robbins/huge-gmo-news_b_4129311.html?ncid=edlinkusaolp00000009

Radiant Sun
Radiant Sun

Misinfo...LOL Here is fresh news for you, and its just the begining. "But in the 20 years since GMO crops first came on the market, studies have found that they have led to higher pesticide use, and no meaningful improvement in flavor, nutrition, yield or water requirements. Instead, what they've created are plants that are engineered to withstand massive dosing of toxic herbicides, and plants that function as living pesticide factories. Monsanto's Bt. corn, for example, is actually registered with the EPA as a pesticide." http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ocean-robbins/huge-gmo-news_b_4129311.html?ncid=edlinkusaolp00000009

Denver Relief
Denver Relief

Denver Relief believes people should have a right to know what is in their cannabis, so we include a list of every ingredient that goes into the production of our plants. Our methods of growing are no secret, as they've been covered in Business Insider and The Denver Post, and nothing on our shelves has been Genetically Modified. We're an open book. While Jake's views do not reflect our own, we're proud to have a staff of free-thinkers that are involved in music, art, journalism, and comedy, and we'll always stand by them as they exercise their 1st Amendment rights.

Radiant Sun
Radiant Sun

Oh Justin, if they were so great, then why isn't everyone praising these crops and the companies that make them? Who do you really think is making the golden rice now? I am sure some of Monsantos crops were started elsewhere too, probably by some professors like the rice, but Monsanto is in control of it.

Radiant Sun
Radiant Sun

So they are beliefs, and not facts!?! Now the truth is out!

Justin Gallant
Justin Gallant

and a chemical company didn't create golden rice 1. re-read the article.

Justin Gallant
Justin Gallant

do you have any evidence gmos in general are bad? Look, my original post is anti-monsanto. But gmo technology isn't an evil, it depends on who is using it and for what.

Katie Meier
Katie Meier

Does it matter? Who took it to the level it is at???

Radiant Sun
Radiant Sun

Well you should start caring, because you are wrong. "In 2005, a team of researchers at biotechnology company, Syngenta, produced a variety of golden rice called "Golden Rice 2"

Justin Gallant
Justin Gallant

I don't care if golden rice is good or not radiant sun, I'm saying you were being disingenuous about all gmos being owned and created by chemical companies.

Erik Keith
Erik Keith

LOL So you now concede that Roundup does in fact contain Glyphosate? #AndImDone

The Monsanto Defense Fund
The Monsanto Defense Fund

My source actually admits that weed resistance is an issue. As I said below, though, I won't be continuing the discussion here. Feel free to reach out to me on our Facebook page. Thanks.

The Monsanto Defense Fund
The Monsanto Defense Fund

Thanks to everyone who has taken their time to inform themselves about the issue. Unfortunately, as I don't receive notifications for new posts in this thread, I'll be answering any questions you have over at The Monsanto Defense Fund. Again, I started off vehemently against GMO's. My opinion changed over time. Perhaps yours will, too, but until then I appreciate CIVIL and informed conversation about the future of food, the corporate politics of Monsanto, and science. Because I think science is cool.

Erik Keith
Erik Keith

"Glyphosate was quickly adopted by farmers, even more so when Monsanto introduced glyphosate-resistant crops, enabling farmers to kill weeds without killing their crops. In 2007 glyphosate was the most used herbicide in the United States agricultural sector, with 180 to 185 million pounds (82,000 to 84,000 tonnes) applied, and the second most used in home and garden market where users applied 5 to 8 million pounds (2,300 to 3,600 tonnes); additionally industry, commerce and government applied 13 to 15 million pounds (5,900 to 6,800 tonnes).[4] With its heavy use in agriculture, weed resistance to glyphosate is a growing problem. While glyphosate and formulations such as Roundup have been approved by regulatory bodies worldwide and are widely used, concerns about their effects on humans and the environment persist.[5]"

The Monsanto Defense Fund
The Monsanto Defense Fund

I guess we beg to differ, because I've read opposing viewpoints on everything you mention there. Even with the history of Monsanto, you make a lot of erroneous arguments. You fail to mention that Monsanto warned the government about dioxin a full decade before Vietnam. Or that there's zero glyphosate in Agent Orange (this professor has a great article on it: http://kfolta.blogspot.com/2012/04/agent-orange-monsanto-and-little.html) It's easy to sensationalize this and say "Monsanto repurposed Agent Orange into RoundUp" but that's so misleading. I want to have an honest discussion about this. Credible, sourced material. So far, it's just people hurtling laundry lists of accusations at Monsanto. It looks good, but it just doesn't hold up.

Erik Keith
Erik Keith

I would strongly encourage you to continue your research...

Erik Keith
Erik Keith

I have done extensive research and have even met one of the heads of agriculture of India who talked extensively how GMOs were ruining the farmers' livelihood and killing their livestock. Yes, I have entertained all viewpoints - even the famed environmental blogger turned pro GMO Mark Lynas, who failed to reference any of the scientific studies referenced in his opinion piece. I'm not sure if you're aware, but Monsanto got their start as manufacturer of Agent Orange - the chemical weapon heavily used during the Vietnam war. This chemical recipe has since been repurposed as the commonly used RoundUp product. The GMO food organisms that Monsanto produces are modified to produce their own pesticides either convincing pests to leave them alone or killing them on the spot. The FDA (whose former vice president was appointed by Obama to head up the Food and Drug Administration) has come out to state that these levels of toxins in our foods are so minuscule as to not be a threat to the American public without having done any research or studies to back up their claim. Also, their claim that less pesticides is needed with their GMO products has been exposed, showing insects and weeds are evolving and becoming immune to these pesticides with the result being more pesticide usage and increasing pesticide formula potency. The fact is, there has been an increase of neurological and organ disease that directly correlate with consumption of GMO foods. This is directly tied to the chemicals or toxins commonly used in GMO's. Glyphosate and other endocrine disruptors are the root of this. The FDA allows many chemicals to be used in our foods that are illegal in many states except the U.S. My comment does not touch on the issue of GMO seeds outperforming organic options, essentially threatening their very existence. Nothing has been done to study the long term impact of this takeover.

The Monsanto Defense Fund
The Monsanto Defense Fund

I'd agree that golden rice, on its own, isn't a solution to the problem. But it is a large step that, along with nutrition education, could do some good. Also note that Prof. Nestle says it "remains to be seen." I think allowing the trials to be completed, without vandalism, is in everyone's best interest.

Radiant Sun
Radiant Sun

And if there were vegetables, golden rice wouldn't be needed. "Golden rice alone won't greatly diminish vitamin A deficiency," says Marion Nestle. "Beta-carotene, which is already widely available in fruit and vegetables, isn't converted to vitamin A when people are malnourished. Golden rice does not contain much beta-carotene, and whether it will improve vitamin A levels remains to be seen."

The Monsanto Defense Fund
The Monsanto Defense Fund

I actually don't "represent them", I'm just a guy who works there. I'd never boycott a business you worked at because of your anti-GMO beliefs. We just have two different opinions. I'm sorry you feel that way. If you're open to having a discussion about this, please start a thread over at The Monsanto Defense Fund. Otherwise, I'll assume you're not and wish you a great day.

The Monsanto Defense Fund
The Monsanto Defense Fund

I've done a lot of research into this. Have you read opposing viewpoints? I've watched Food Inc, The Man Who Beat Monsanto, and a lot more. I've read extensively on the subject. I think it's interesting. My opinion isn't solidified on this, either. I just haven't heard a compelling argument against Monsanto, and definitely not against GM foods on the whole. The anti-GMO people don't seem nearly as willing to research the other side. I realize that's a generalization, but I really do believe that.

The Monsanto Defense Fund
The Monsanto Defense Fund

My argument in the article is that there's money to be made off of scaring people. That's just one reason.

The Monsanto Defense Fund
The Monsanto Defense Fund

Denver Relief has nothing to do with my personal beliefs, in the same way I would never ask that someone who represents anti-GMO's be shamed for their beliefs. I'm simply trying to have a discussion here. If we can't talk about this, if it's a closed book issue, then that's the worst possible outcome.

Radiant Sun
Radiant Sun

Jake Browne and Denver Relief, you should both be ashamed.

Radiant Sun
Radiant Sun

LOL, really? Wouldn't you think that if they were known and proven to be so safe and great, then we would all be glorifying Gmos???

Radiant Sun
Radiant Sun

BTW Jake Browne, get a life. Denver Relief will never get my business anymore because you represent them. Shameful!

Radiant Sun
Radiant Sun

The gold rice story is old news. OLD. Monsanto is the biggest biotech company with round up ready corn, hence why they are a target....aside from them suing farmers. What good have they done recently? Corn oil and corn consumption has increased.....as well as numerous diseases and health problems without any explanation....but it is quite obvious.

Erik Keith
Erik Keith

Neither is the opinion of one.. Or even 13.. You would do well by educating yourself on Monsanto and its history before blindly forming your own.

The Monsanto Defense Fund
The Monsanto Defense Fund

Vee Just one person trying to make a change. I'm more than happy to cite the work of others who have worked far more diligently on this than I have.

The Monsanto Defense Fund
The Monsanto Defense Fund

Popular opinion isn't always correct. As I said, being alarmist and scaring people with an ideology will always generate more interest than plain old boring science.

plantdoctor
plantdoctor

Also, Denver Relief should be ashamed and they will never get my business.

Radiant Sun
Radiant Sun

Yea, its all chemical companies making them! Pffft, they all suck. The focus is NOT on saving people or world hunger anymore, it is how they can maximize profits on chemicals and patenting plants to gain a monopoly.

Erik Keith
Erik Keith

13 likes on his pro Monsanto Facebook page which was self admittedly set up "as a joke" - and it remains just a joke..

plantdoctor
plantdoctor

@The Monsanto Defense Fund So when cancer patients come into Denver Relief, what exactly to you suggest to them?  Eat Gmos?  Dont cut out sugar, meat or dairy?  Don't eat organic?  Don't juice?  River Rock actually cares and has had success putting patients on this type of treatment program, and I have found the same success.  Yet, somehow you are so sold that GMO's are ok.....but have yet to explain why you feel this way other than a link to some biotech page.  

MonsantoDefenseFund
MonsantoDefenseFund

@plantdoctor Typical. Attack my employer, who has nothing to do with this. Try to hurt my ability to find employment. You sound a lot like the people you vilify. 

michael.roberts
michael.roberts moderator editortopcommenter

@Erik Keith Tough post, Erik. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

MonsantoDefenseFund
MonsantoDefenseFund

@Erik Keith Popular opinion isn't always correct. As I said, being alarmist and scaring people with an ideology will always generate more interest than plain old boring science.

plantdoctor
plantdoctor

@MonsantoDefenseFund @plantdoctor BTW someone in this industry who is supporting what you support, THAT is sickening to me.  Genetic modification of marijuana has been through pollinations, NOT GENETIC MODIFICATIONS!  Jake Browne you don't deserve to help out  truly sick patients who have found relief from cutting GMOS out of their diet,  including myself. 

MonsantoDefenseFund
MonsantoDefenseFund

@plantdoctor I'm sorry you feel that way. I just have an opinion about an unrelated matter. Glad you feel better, whatever the cause.

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