[Editor’s note: Terrance Bradshaw is a research associate at the University of Vermont and director of the university’s Apple and Grape Program and Horticulture Research and Education Center. He has a PhD in plant and soil science.]
Recently I had a spat with a colleague over what I thought was her use of negative imagery toward non-organic farmers in a lecture. One thing that really got me going was the use of what I call “Monsanto Gas Mask Man” in a slide that discussed some of the dangers of pesticides.
The recent discussion over GMO and other farming production methods in the popular media has been largely and carefully directed by activists to paint ‘conventional’ agriculture in an extremely negative light. The rhetoric around non-organic agriculture has been directed using intentionally provocative terms and images, in order to sway public opinion based on fear and emotion rather than science and reason.
The “Monsanto Gas Mask Man” plays into that imagery.
[Farming is] done by real people, who bust their butts to feed us (you). Demonizing them via violent imagery and rhetoric is an insult to us all, as farmers, consumers, and citizens, and that’s why I speak out against it.
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