Mar 30, 2011 - Blog    No Comments

Farmers take on Monsanto!

The synchronicities abound. After watching a powerful video of an 11-year old take on Monsanto from TEDx, I received a press release from the Canadian Organic Growers who have joined with 59 other farming associations, seed companies and farmers in a legal action against Monsanto to challenge the chemical giant’s patents on transgenic (genetically modified) seed. They and the Public Patent Foundation (PUBPAT), a Manhattan-based public interest law association, ask the court to consider whether “Monsanto has the right to sue farmers for patent infringement if Monsanto’s genetically modified seed lands on their farm.”

From the press release:

One of the goals of the suit is to demonstrate that the biotechnology patents issued to Monsanto, the manufacturer of DDT, Agent Orange, PCBs and a host of other toxins, are not in the public interest. In 1817, U.S. Justice Story wrote that to be patentable, an invention must not be “injurious to the well-being, good policy, or sound morals of society,” and “a new invention to poison people … is not a patentable invention.

In their announcement on the pubpat.org site, they say that “The organic plaintiffs were forced to sue preemptively to protect themselves from being accused of patent infringement should they ever become contaminated by Monsanto’s genetically modified seed, something Monsanto has done to others in the past.” You can also find the entire 52-page complaint on their site at http://www.pubpat.org/assets/files/seed/OSGATA-v-Monsanto-Complaint.pdf and it has some rather strong statements. I especially like that they use the term transgenic which was covered in a recent episode of the Agroinnovations podcast as the more accurate term than genetically-modified-foods.

The following is a brief excerpt from the first page of the complaint which I highly encourage others to read and share their reactions below. From everything I have learned about Monsanto, I cannot consider this action to be anything BUT a step in the right direction.

Society stands on the precipice of forever being bound to transgenic agriculture and transgenic food. Coexistence between transgenic seed and organic seed is impossible because transgenic seed contaminates and eventually overcomes organic seed. Plaintiffs in this matter represent farmers and seed businesses who do not want to use or sell transgenic seed. Plaintiffs are increasingly being threatened by transgenic seed contamination despite using their best efforts to avoid it. This causes Plaintiffs to fear that, if they do indeed become contaminated by transgenic seed, which may very well be inevitable given the proliferation of transgenic seed today, they could quite perversely also be accused of patent infringement by the company responsible for the transgenic seed that contaminates them. Thus, Plaintiffs bring this action to protect themselves from ever being accused of infringing patents on transgenic seed.

Got anything to say? Go ahead and leave a comment!