Now that the acquisition of Monsanto by Bayer is a done deal, the global German company has announced that it will retire the name of the demonized American farming and chemical industry.
The move echoes Bayer's renaming itself after World War II, when IG Farben, an earlier incarnation, supported Hitler's rise and were heavily involved in the Holocaust. War History Online notes in Popular Pharmaceutical Company Bayer Bought Concentration Camp Victims in WWII:
Everyone has heard of Bayer, the pharmaceutical company that runs aspirin commercials on television. Not everyone knows, however, of Bayer’s dark past.
The successor of pharmaceutical conglomerate IG Farben, the company was a huge donor to Hitler’s electoral campaign and supporter of the Nazis.
IG Farben worked closely with the Nazi party to take over manufacturing plants when the Germans invaded other European countries. IG Farben also held stock in and was represented on the board of the company which produced the gas used in the Holocaust gas chambers. . . .
After the end of World War I, chemical companies in Germany merged to form IG Farben. They produced everything from pharmaceuticals to manufacturing chemicals to explosives. . . .
Auschwitz was much more than a concentration camp. It was also the setting for IG Auschwitz, a 100 percent subsidiary of IG Farben. It was the largest complex in the world manufacturing gasoline and rubber.
It was also where IG Farben tested its products. Prisoners who were considered appropriate candidates were sent to the IG Auschwitz factory. There they were used for human experiments of new vaccines being developed. The unlucky individuals sent to the gas chambers were privy to another kind of IG Farben invention – the synthetic gas Zyklon-B.
The IG Auschwitz factory was not the only place where human testing was being conducted on victims. IG Farben had its own concentration camp. There, tested vaccines and chemicals were applied to both sick and healthy individuals, in the form of injections, pills, enemas and powders. Many fell seriously ill or died as a result of these tests....
oday, IG Farben is recognized by its modern names, Bayer, BASF and Hoechst/Aventis.
One Auschwitz Survivor tried to win compensation from Bayer due to the medical experiments she underwent while there. Zoe Polanska Palmer, now in her 80s, was featured in a BBC TV documentary in the early 2000s. . . .
While the BBC was making the documentary on Palmer, they contacted Bayer for a statement. Bayer said, “Between 1925 and 1952, no company named Bayer existed, neither as a subsidiary of IG Farben nor as any other legal entity. Bayer has worked in good faith with the German government to establish a fund to help those who have suffered. The company’s contribution to this fund amounted to more than 40 million pounds.” . . .
In 1995, Bayer issued a public apology for the company’s involvement in the Holocaust.
The company's recent public relations strategies for fluffing up the merger by retiring the Monsanto name, as well as the exercise in "bee-washing" known as the Bayer Bee Care Centers created to obscure Bayer's role in the creation and promotion of bee-unfriendly neonicotinoid chemicals.
Thus, Reuters' Ludwig Burer reports in With deal to close this week, Bayer to retire Monsanto name:
Germany’s Bayer (BAYGn.DE) will wrap up the $63 billion takeover of Monsanto MON.N on Thursday and also retire the U.S. seeds maker’s 117 year-old name. . ..
Monsanto, the largest - though not the only - maker of genetically modified seeds, has been a lightning rod for environmentalists’ opposition to the technology.
The U.S. seed maker has also drawn criticism for pursuing its intellectual property rights with farmers, many of which depend on its seeds, more aggressively than its peers.
“We aim to deepen our dialogue with society. We will listen to our critics and work together where we find common ground. Agriculture is too important to allow ideological differences to bring progress to a standstill,” Bayer Chief Executive Werner Baumann said in the statement.
As the fictional TV character Sergeant Schultz might have said, they'll know nothing about that Monsanto. But Quartz's Zoe Schlanger reports in Monsanto is about to disappear. Everything will stay exactly the same:
German pharmaceutical giant Bayer will officially buy US agriculture giant Monsanto on Thursday (June 7) for $63 billion, after securing approval for the deal from US and European regulators. Bayer announced they will immediately retire the 117-year-old Monsanto name.
Monsanto is the world’s biggest supplier of genetically modified seeds, and the name “Monsanto” has become a rallying point for members of the anti-GMO movement. The name has been sullied in recent years by controversies ranging from lawsuits over organic farmers turning up traces of GMO genes in their crops, to the listing of glyphosate, the main ingredient in Monsanto’s herbicide product Roundup, as probably cancer-causing by the World Health Organization.
The US Environmental Protection Agency disagreed with the WHO classification in December, concluding that glyphosate likely does not cause cancer. The the carcinogenic potential of Roundup is currently also the subject of a lawsuit, which is scheduled for a trial this month.
Bayer’s decision to drop the name means Monsanto products like Roundup will still be Roundup, but now they will be Bayer’s Roundup, not Monsanto’s Roundup. Roundup will still contain glyphosate.
“Bayer will remain the company name. Monsanto will no longer be a company name. The acquired products will retain their brand names and become part of the Bayer portfolio,” Bayer said in a statement to Reuters.
Andrew Kimbrell, the executive director of Center for Food Safety, an advocacy group which campaigns against GMO food, said in a statement on Tuesday (June 5) that Bayer “should not assume that just by dropping a name they have dropped the liability. The worldwide food and environmental movements know that Bayer is now the ‘new Monsanto.’”
Just like historians knew Bayer morphed out of IG Farben. Draw your own conclusion.
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