Agribusiness giant Monsanto targeted by spoof ‘Farm Heroes’ Game

Agribusiness giant Monsanto targeted by spoof ‘Farm Heroes’ Game

Date: 22 September 2016

A spoof video game pits ‘Farm Heroes’ up against controversial agribusiness giant Monsanto as they struggle to wrestle control of their farms away from the corporation.

Farm Heroes Saga is a popular online game with millions of players  from the makers of Candy Crush, in which farmyard animals match various types of vegetables in order to defeat Rancid the Racoon.

The spoof version of the game Farm Heroes vs Monsanto, developed by campaign organisation Global Justice Now, sees farmer animals fighting against the agribusiness multinational and attempting to reclaim their farmlands from corporate-controlled seeds and harmful industrial pesticides.

The game is being launched the month before Monsanto is facing a ‘people’s tribunal’ in The Hague, where international witnesses will be giving evidence on the impacts of Monsanto in front of judges and lawyers. The outcomes will not be legally binding as there is currently no mechanism to bring criminal charges against a company like Monsanto, but players of the Farm Heroes Vs Monsanto game will be asked to sign a petition calling for a UN treaty that could be used to hold Monsanto to account.

Earlier in the week it was announced that Monsanto had accepted a takeover bid from Bayer, which campaigners said would be “a disaster for the global food system.”

Heidi Chow, an agricultural campaigner at Global Justice Now said:
“This video game illustrates how Monsanto is at the forefront of pushing a model of agriculture that takes control away from small-scale farmers as well as causes environmental damage. Monsanto maintains it market dominance by getting farmers hooked onto its expensive weed killers and seeds that have be purchased every year from Monsanto. Not only is this costly for cash-strapped subsistence farmers, but it’s unnecessary. Scientific evidence shows that organic, non-chemical methods are effective for growing healthy food as well as better for the environment.”

Vandana Shiva, an Indian scholar, and environmental activist said:
“Monsanto has come to be seen as one of the most dangerous corporations on the planet. It has earned this reputation through a history of producing products toxic to humans and the environment, as well as well-documented manipulation of scientific evidence, disingenuous PR efforts and applying relentless political pressure worldwide to promote its products. Life, society and democracy are under threat. We refuse to allow this future to unfold.”

Some of Monsanto’s controversial operations include:

  • Monsanto’s flagship weedkiller, Roundup is made from a chemical called glyphosate, that the World Health Organisation has classified as probably causing cancer and other studies have shown it damages the environment.
  • Monsanto controls 90% of the cotton seed market in India. Monsanto’s GM cotton seeds are patented which means farmers have to buy them every year at a cost of up to four times more than traditional varieties, this increases farmers’ costs, creates indebtedness and puts pressure on livelihoods.

Financial backing for the game was sourced from a crowd-funding campaign.