These days Monsanto is shorthand for, as NPR's Dan Charles has put it, "lots of things that some people love to hate": Genetically modified crops, which Monsanto invented. Seed patents, which Monsanto has fought to defend. Herbicides such as Monsanto's Roundup, which protesters have sharply criticized for its possible health risks. Big agriculture in general, of which Monsanto was the reviled figurehead.
And soon Monsanto will be no more. Bayer, the German pharmaceutical giant and pesticide powerhouse, announced in 2016 [npr.org] it would be buying Monsanto in an all-cash deal for more than $60 billion. Now, as the merger approaches, Bayer has confirmed [bayer.com] what many suspected: In the merger, the politically charged name "Monsanto" will be disappearing. The combined company will be known simply as Bayer, while product names will remain the same. The move is not exactly a surprise — it makes sense that Bayer might want to weed out some of the intense negative associations associated with the Monsanto brand. In a way, it's an indication of how successful anti-Monsanto protesters have been in shaping public perception.
In the company's latest statement, Bayer implicitly acknowledged how hostile debates over genetically modified crops and other agricultural products have become. "We aim to deepen our dialogue with society. We will listen to our critics and work together where we find common ground," the chairman of Bayer's board of management, Werner Baumann, said in the statement. "Agriculture is too important to allow ideological differences to bring progress to a standstill. We have to talk to each other. We need to listen to each other. It's the only way to build bridges."
Roundup: Monsanto Ordered to Pay $93M to Small Town for Poisoning Citizens [soylentnews.org]
RoundUp Glyphosate Found to Cause Kidney Failure and Elude Tests [soylentnews.org]
Cancer Hazard vs. Risk - Glyphosate [soylentnews.org]
Use of Dicamba-Resistant Monsanto Crops Leads to Soybean Death [soylentnews.org]
GMO Grass That 'Escaped' Defies Eradication, Divides Grass Seed Industry [soylentnews.org]
Glyphosate Linked to Liver Damage [soylentnews.org]