25C3 -

25th Chaos Communication Congress
Nothing to hide

Day Day 4 (2008-12-30)
Room Saal 1
Start time 12:45
Duration 01:00
ID 2680
Event type lecture
Track Society
Language used for presentation en

Not Soy Fast: Genetically Modified, Resource Greedy, and coming to a Supermarket Near You

The silent march of the multinational GMO soy industry and its growing power in South America, the EU, and around the World.

Soy is the magic ingredient that we often look to for our alternative, healthier, and more responsible diets. Yet the soy industry, with its boom in profits and global reach, behaves the exact opposite way.

Genetically Modified, Resource Greedy, and Appearing at a Supermarket Near You

The silent march of the multinational GMO soy industry and its growing power in South America, the EU, and around the World.

For any of us in the last 20 years who have chosen to become vegetarians or just reduce the amount of meat that we eat, soy has long been our best friend. Soy, our good alternative food source friend which was our good source of protein and came in all kinds of shapes and forms, sometimes it even tasted like that old sausage or that filet mignon, only it was tofu. And that's how it has been for many alternative eaters, for a very long time, meat is bad, and hey – we've got soy as a healthy and not meat source of goodness. Meanwhile, by the time the late 90's rolled around, in the corridors of the European Commission, there was talk of a new kind of food crop, one that had been engineered to resist typical farming concerns like weeds and pests. Some even promised to reduce the amount of work required to grow it, saving farmers on labor costs. Experts and regular citizens around the world began to ask questions such as what would the long term effects be if people would consume this soy? What about the effects on agriculture if these types of crops are grown near regular soy? And from there.. more questions and frequently, few conclusive answers. One result was the EU's ban on GMO soy for human consumption. Yet despite this ban, GMO soy could be used for animal feed. Indeed by 2006, the European Union became the leading importer of soy, including GMO soy, from South America, 85% of which went towards livestock feeding. Livestock which eventually are consumed by humans.

But the story is much larger than the EU and genetically modified food. Because with the growing scope and power of big soy agribusiness, nations like Brazil and Paraguay would experience a quiet soy revolution. A revolution that would bring an end to the way of life for many indigenous people, as well as destroy a significant amount of the amazon rain forest, all in the name of soy.

While all this is going on, so to is the fair trade and alter-globalization movement of the late 1990's. Following in their tradition, throughout the 00's, activists from across Europe take matters into their own hands, in countries such as Portugal and Germany, physically going to GMO plantations and destroying the crops as an act of civil disobedience. This is but a snapshot of a very complex struggle that effects not only anyone who eats soy products, but all food. An issue that involves not only policy makers and farmers, but our collective future and public health. It has been called, the omnivore's dilemma, what some in the media feel is too complicated to report about. This is the story of our soy industry, whether we like it our not.

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