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September 19, 2014

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Seeing red: Protesters call attention to genetically modified food

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Brian Nordli

Protestors show off their signs before the Las Vegas March Against Monsanto rally at Sunset Road and Las Vegas Boulevard on Saturday, May 25, 2013. The crowd marched about one mile to the “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign to protest genetically modified foods distributed by the multinational corporation.

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March Against Monsanto Las Vegas coordinator Angie Morelli rallies the troops before the protest at Sunset Road and Las Vegas Boulevard on Saturday, May 25, 2013.

A sea of red-shirted protesters gathered at the corner of Las Vegas Boulevard and Sunset Road on Saturday to join in a global march against food giant Monsanto Co. and the right to know what’s in their food.

The crowd waved signs with the crossed-out acronym GMO (genetically modified organism), and booed every time Monsanto was mentioned. Passing cars honked their horns in support, and event organizers passed out pamphlets urging participants to call Sens. Dean Heller and Harry Reid.

“We have to speak in a language that they understand, and that’s profit,” Paul Graham, author of “Eating Vegan in Vegas,” shouted to the crowd.

Health-conscious eaters, concerned parents and their children, and big-corporation protesters gathered because they are disturbed by the potential health issues caused by genetically modified foods. They came to add their voices to a global rally against Monsanto.

“All we’re trying to do is to show solidarity to the fact that we are (angry) and don’t want to deal with it anymore,” said Angie Morelli, the Las Vegas event’s coordinator. “They’re genetically modifying our food, and they’re not telling us the ramifications of it. Every time we do find out the ramifications of it, it’s horrible.”

Monsanto is a multinational agricultural biotechnology corporation, which sells genetically modified seeds. The seeds are designed to resist insecticides and herbicides, add nutritional benefits and improve crop yields.

Yet many people feel those genetically modified foods can lead to health problems. Some are frustrated with the government for its recent decision to vote down a bill that would have pushed for mandatory labeling of genetically modified organisms. In response, people from more than 250 cities and 35 countries decided to hold an International March Against Monsanto.

Morelli organized the Las Vegas event after she noticed 300 people had signed up on the Las Vegas March Against Monsanto Facebook page, but no one had taken charge. She was new to the cause — only learning about Monsanto and genetically modified food about six months ago — but she felt strongly about it and decided to take action.

“This is the one issue that affects everybody,” Morelli said. “There’s all these issues that affect a segment of the population, but this is the one thing that affects all of us and the world.”

Protesters showed up wearing red in solidarity to march about one mile to the "Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas" sign. The rally stretched about half of a mile down Las Vegas Boulevard during the march.

Laura Love attended the protest with her children. She said she has resorted to growing her own food in a garden and hunting in multiple grocery stores and farmers markets to ensure her children have food that hasn’t been genetically modified.

Emily Landers also attended the protest with her children and added that she has to research all her foods to check for GMOs before she feeds them to her kids. One of her daughters held a sign that read “Let Nature Grow, No GMOs.”

“I’m at the point where I don’t know what is safe to eat or feed my kids anymore,” Landers said.

Michael McCaslin dressed up in his Phantom Patriot costume (which resembles Captain America), to help attract attention to the issue. He uses his alter ego when he attends about one protest a month for causes that are important to him. He said this is the largest protest he’s attended since the Occupy movement.

“Realistically, we won’t shut Monsanto down,” McCaslin said. “At the very least, I hope it will lead to labeling of any GMOs on foods.”

Morelli hopes people will take note of the issue and read more about it. After all, everyone eats.

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  1. Idiots.

    It's rich white people's problems. Poor people and subsistence farmers can eat a lot better due to GMOs. Besides, since the first hunter/gatherers became farmers, we've been modifying genes: it's called hybridization.

    I guess they just want poor people in 3rd world countries to die of starvation. We should ask them about ethanol, too: it's a bigger crime against food supplies.

  2. All these break outs of E-Coli and Salmonella should be looked at because in order to GMO you have to have a strand of DNA from the plant and a fish or similar and a slice from E-Coli or Salmonella. It takes all three working together and they mutate cross pollenate with other foods and Monsanto then claims the other food source as theirs on account of showing their strain in it.

    Think back to Lettuce, Spinach, Onions, Peanut butter. These other nations are banning it from their countries, They all can't be wrong!!!!

  3. Without science as a process in food production, and using local- and regional-only organically-farmed produce, the Earth might sustain 1 billion people at most. (Some scientists think it might be as few as a million). So, who chooses who eats, and who dies?

  4. Certainly I want the food I eat to be safe but there's no evidence that genetically modified crops are a risk. So, if these leftists loons are afraid of modified foods, they can easily avoid them by shopping markets that do not sell them. Me? I don't want to find worms in my apples!

  5. What a fantastic turnout by 2000 concerned Las Vegans. People are becoming educated about the health issues surrounding the introduction of these novel proteins, which breaks down the gut, and leads to a host of medical conditions, like the rising autism rates, food allergies, and autoimmune issues and we demand labeling so we can make a choice to stop buying it. We see that these crops have led to the evolution of superweeds and superbugs and crop yields are decreasing, despite Monsanto's propaganda to get you to believe otherwise. Harry Reid, stop stalling labeling and stop protecting Monsanto by allowing riders to be slipped into bills. We are watching!!!! The people have awoken!!!

  6. Also, this protest was not leftist loons. People from across the political spectrum, young, old, left, right, attended the rally. This is not a partisan issue. Food affects all of us equally.

  7. Fink --- I know your hatred prevents you from logical thought but the point is Monsanto doesn't want you to know you're buying GMOs. Look at the HUGE fight they put up in CA when the voters asked to have labeling showing GMO produced foods.

    It's very nice that you, Fink trust when a for profit company says they're not trying to kill you but not all of us share your trust ---- and for very good reason.

  8. The human race has been genetically modifying all the foods we eat since the dawn of agriculture.

  9. The human race has never genetically modified anything until 20 years ago. We *selectively* bred plants and animals for desirable traits. This process never included splicing bacteria genes into plants to withstand herbicides, or splicing bacteria genes into plants so that every cell of a plant produces an insecticide. This process has created proteins that our bodies do not recognize as food. Introducing novel proteins into our bodies has caused a host of medical problems that have skyrocketed since the mass introduction of GMO corn and soy. The constant inflammation caused by the immune system reacting to these foreign substances are the root to all the major rises in chronic health issues.

    The reason this movement has reached a fever pitch is more and more people are taking control of their own health and not eating this food and they are starting to feel better. Unfortunately, we aren't all rich enough to buy only organic. We would like labels so we can identify which products contain GMO. You cannot walk into any grocery store and buy something as simple as crackers and be reasonably sure that you are not eating GMOs if the product is not organic. 49 other countries have labels, but not the U.S.A? This is because Monsanto knows that consumers would overwhelmingly reject their product. This is not a free market. Allow labels and let the consumers decide. Then if you want to eat food that contains GMOs, you can. And if I want to pay a little more for products that don't contain them, I can. Then food processors will have a whole new line to market "Contains no GMOs." just like they are now labeling, "Gluten free", "Fat free" or "Low Sodium". Consumers decide if they want those products but consumers cannot decide when 90 percent of processed food contains GMOs and organic is the only alternative.

  10. "...consumers cannot decide when 90 percent of processed food contains GMOs and organic is the only alternative."

    Which suggests just the opposite: Consumers *can* decide. They just need to buy organic. Problem solved.

  11. Me, Reza,

    So the consumer should play Russian roulette on the other 10%? (I believe the number is a lot higher). If there is nothing to hide behind GMO's, why wouldn't they label it? I don't like the idea. Do you think they are making GMO's for the benefit of the consumer, or for themselvs? My money is that they are in it for themselves and their pocketbook.

  12. For years I delivered rail cars full of soy beans to a plant that crushes these and extracts the oil, I then would pull the cars from plant but now it is called soy meal. This soy meal will sift out of some cars and leave a large pile of this meal and nature takes it's course of breaking it down and that's what leads me to what I'm about to tell you that I have noticed that nature is not taking it's course animals won't eat it, Flies won't blow it and there are no maggots working it on account of the pesticide that's in it.
    And if a fly that lays eggs in $hit and the maggots eat it but won't eat this product then let me have a choice to know.
    I have seen studies that you can take a burlap sack full of GMO corn and also the same size non-GMO corn and place it in a barn filled with rats and the rats will eat all of the non-GMO corn and leave the GMO corn intact.
    Farmers in India who always allow there livestock to feed on cotton stalks after the cotton was harvested lost all of there herd within days after consuming the plant.
    This is a bad problem one day you eat corn chips and never had any problems but then next week you eat corn chips again and wham sudden allergic reaction except what's different this time is the corn in the chip was GMO and it was cooked in GMO OIL such as Soybean oil or cottonseed, Canola now you got a huge dose of it.

    Bottom line If I got something good to sell I want to tell everyone! If it's not so good then I suppress it's risk.

  13. MicheleS,
    What is your educational background that can be verified? You apparently don't realize that selective breeding is genetic modification by definition or what did you think breeding does if not the recombination of DNA? The rest of your post is a confused mishmash of anecdotes and misinformation you have been fed and believe. There is no amount of careful research that could penetrate your firm beliefs so I feel sorry that you will waste your time worrying about nonsense.

  14. Meanwhile reality intrudes:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/19/magazi...