Monsanto last week helped pay for a pro-genetically modified foods demonstration in Washington, D.C., by some 100 members of a Baptist church, according to one of the rally organizers. The demonstration was part of a new campaign by the company to work behind the scenes to get church members, union workers, and the elderly to speak in favor of GM foods. Last week, the church members, carrying signs that read “Biotech saves children’s lives” and “Biotech equals jobs,” marched around a group of anti-biotech advocates dressed as giant monarch butterflies. The anti-biotech butterfly folks claim that some of the supporters of GM foods told them that Monsanto had paid people $25 a head to take part in the demonstration, while an organizer of the demonstration said Monsanto only covered the cost of transportation and lunch (surely not an organic one!). A spokeswoman for Monsanto acknowledged that it had contracted with PR firm Burson Marstellar to reach out to GM supporters, but said that paying people to demonstrate would violate the company’s ethics policy and that the company plans to investigate the charge.

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