They’ll be hungry in Hungary if this keeps up.
The landlocked land of the Legényes (Dracula’s favorite dance) has taken the biotech bull by the horns and, in a start-up campaign to bleed Monsanto dry, has boldly ploughed under more than a thousand acres of GMO corn. The rest of Europe is not expected to follow suit because they have no use for the plethora of bull’s blood that resulted—Hungary, of course, used it to make Egri Bikavér.
Meaning ‘Bull’s Blood of Eger’ (a city in Northern Hungary), the famous wine is actually hemoglobin-free, and made (like Châteauneuf-du-Pape) from a blend of up to 13 grapes. Some of these are familiar to New Worlders (pinot noir, syrah, cabernet sauvignon) while some are very Eastern European: Kadarka, kékfrankos, bíborkadarka and kékoportó. The wine is a testosterone-laden bombshell, rich with black fruits and troglodytic tannins, often aggressively acidic and generally, worthy of its name.
Monsanto, meanwhile, was named for the father-in-law of the founder and from the outset produced far more bullshit than bull’s blood. Imagine sporting a Monsanto business card and giving prospective clients a rundown of your company’s product history: Saccharine (linked to bladder cancer in lab rats), sulphuric acid (used by Jeffrey Dahmer to dissolve murder victims), DDT (a cause of diabetes), Agent Orange (linked to birth defects in Vietcong children and other living things), PCB (causes liver damage), Bt Cotton (every 30 minutes, an Indian farmer commits suicide due to debts caused by this product not producing as promised—this is not a typo.)
And This Isn’t Even What’s Pissing The Hunkies Off
Hungary is one of six EU nations to have banned genetically modified seeds, and the Orwellian-sounding Deputy State Secretary of the Ministry of Rural Development apparently stumbled across some no-no’s grow-growing during a random corn check. Corn checks are the Magyar equivalent of DUI roadblocks, although the Ministry of Rural Intoxication has those too in order to make sure that the citizens are blasted on Egri Bikavér and not Sangre de Toro, since it’s the only thing the country produces beside goulash and Gabors.
Oh, and they grow corn. Unmodified corn, thanks to the jackbooted government corndogs, even though maize itself is genetically modified grass, and even though the European Commission Directorate-General for Research and Innovation reported in 2010: “The main conclusion to be drawn from the efforts of more than 130 research projects covering a period of more than 25 years of research and involving more than 500 independent research groups, is that GMOs are not more risky than conventional plant breeding technologies.”
Or, in streetspeak: ‘Safe’.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not waving Monsanto’s gonfalon, and no, I don’t have a business card with my name and theirs in flagrante delicto. I am, however, amused that groups who generally support small farmers are heralding the systematic destruction of their fields by Big Brother as some sort of bold Slavic stance against juggernaut technology. Planetsave, for example, chuckles, ‘This looks like it’s going to be another slap in the face for Monsanto.’ (http://s.tt/12TaC), while the self-described ‘health guru’ Dr. Mercola—utterly missing the point that the fields were ravaged not because the GM corn was a health hazard, but because the seeds were illegal—snits, ‘Should be a major wake-up call to anyone in the United States and elsewhere who believes GM crops are harmless.’ (mercola.com).
What they fail to mention is that when the Hungarian crops were destroyed, it was too late in the season to replant, and that the compensation the farmers would normally be paid for the government’s pillagery will instead go to the creditors of the seed company that sold them the GM corn to begin with—apparently without informing them what it was—because the company is in bankruptcy. So, the final score is Hungarian Ecofriendly P.R., 1 and Hungarian Peasants, 0.
Monsanto, of course, won’t be affected since the seeds had already been paid for, and it shouldn’t hurt future sales much since they’re illegal anyway.
And what about the February 13, 2012 court ruling holding Monsanto liable for neurological damage caused to French farmer Paul François after he breathed Lasso herbicide while cleaning equipment—even though the warning label clearly states that a multitude of health risks have been associated with inhaling the crap?
Personally, I question the competence of Monsanto’s lawyers. I mean, how do you lose a case to someone whose main symptom is memory loss? Isn’t your opening statement, “Mr. François, are you sure that you did not know perfectly well the risks in using this product and have simply forgotten that you did??”
Anyway, Paully Frank claims total disability and intends to retire at age 47 on Monsanto’s nickel. Bully for him—he’s from Charente in Western France, home to the lovely intoxicant Pineau des Charentes, a sweet, non-sanguineous mistelle made by blending lightly fermented wine with Cognac and aged for a minimum of 18 months. Pineau production sounds like an ideal second career for the memory-challenged bumpkin since legend insists that the apéritif was invented by a winemaker who accidentally added grape must to a barrel into which he’d forgotten that he had already poured Cognac.
One hopes that François will find a different location to store his bull’s blood.