Monsanto demands data from glyphosate opponents before US court
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Monsanto has sued the Avaaz campaign network. Avaaz shall transfer all internal data of its glyphosate campaign to Monsanto. The Supreme Court of the State of New York has issued an order to this effect. Avaaz has appealed and is collecting donations to defend itself against the corporation.
Avaaz is a global network of online activists with over 46 million people. The activists have been active against the re-registration of glyphosate in the EU. More than four million people have signed petitions of Avaaz. wants e-mail addresses and all other records of the organization that refer to Monsanto or glyphosate. Also the ongoing campaign against the merger of Bayer and Monsanto would be affected, says Avaaz.
Monsanto justified its request to the court on the grounds that these documents were necessary in order to be able to defend itself in another case. This refers to a lawsuit in San Francisco in which hundreds of cancer victims who hold Monsanto's glyphosate responsible for their illness are suing for compensation. Avaaz Vice President Emma Ruby-Sachs said the Group's actions were in response to Avaaz's thwarting its plans in Europe and Argentina.
Monsanto is known for bringing up strong guns against critics. But the Avaaz community unites the strength of millions of people and our members are not afraid," the organization writes in its appeal for donations. The legal battle against the company will cost Avaaz time and money, which will be spent on campaign work. The annual budget of the network is about 14 million euros.
If Monsanto's claim against Avaaz is successful, this could have far-reaching consequences for other organizations. Just supplying the data would block the work of the organisations concerned for months. Thousands of man-hours and hundreds of thousands of dollars "would cost to compile the required documents, Avaaz told the British newspaper The Guardian. And who else would sign or get involved with an organization if they feared that the data would be sent to the companies they fought against?