In a new letter organized by SumOfUs, an international consumer watchdog, more than 1000 Utahns are urging Senator Mike Lee to publicly oppose and help prevent a proposed Bayer-Monsanto merger.
The letter argues that the merger would be a nightmare for farmers giving the newly formed company a dangerous level of control over the global food supply. It would also violate antitrust merger review laws, enabling the new behemoth company to set prices and limit innovation.
Senator Lee, who is up for re-election this November, has previously spoken out against the deal, but SumOfUs members are calling on Lee, who is Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Antitrust, to go further and to urge the the Justice Department to oppose the deal.
“The merger between Bayer and Monsanto is a five-alarm threat to our food supply and to farmers around the world. Now that Monsanto has accepted Bayer’s controversial bid, we need to step up global efforts to stop this illegal merger. This new mega corporation would be the world’s biggest seed maker and pesticide company, defying important antitrust protections and giving it unacceptable control over critical aspects of our food supply — undermining consumer choice and the freedom and stability of farmers worldwide,” explained Toni Preston, campaigner for SumOfUs. “More than 500,000 people around the world have spoken out against this dangerous deal that has the potential to usher in a new era of sterile crops soaked in dangerous pesticides. We need our elected officials to work with us to ensure that regulators recognize the unique threats posed by a Bayer-Monsanto merger and move swiftly to reject this proposal.”
In August, SumOfUs released a legal white paper, written by two former Justice Department officials from the Antitrust Division, that argued that a merger between Bayer and Monsanto would violate the Clayton Act, a law enacted by Congress to curb anticompetitive business practices.
According to the legal white paper, a Bayer-Monsanto merger would also be in direct violation of a 2008 court order, where Monsanto was forced to divest itself of certain cottonseed and cotton breeding assets, which were sold to Bayer. If the merger proceeds, Monsanto would re-acquire these anti-competitive traits, thereby violating the US Department of Justice’s judgement. SumOfUs’ legal white paper also argued that:
The merger would eliminate direct competition between two of the largest players in the traited seed sector, with direct consequences for seed development, herbicide markets, and innovative and open research and development.
The merger will mean the new Bayer-Monsanto conglomerate will control nearly 70% of the cotton acreage in the United States – unacceptably high by antitrust standards. It would also have unacceptable market concentration in wide swaths of commercial seed development and sales for other commonly used varieties, including traited canola, soybeans, and corn developed in North America.
The new corporation would likely lead to higher input prices, with less choice and higher food prices for consumers, and fewer non-biotechnology options available to farmers and consumers.
More than 500,000 SumOfUs members around the world have signed onto a petition opposing the potential merger of Monsanto and Bayer.