Help this farmer fight Monsanto

I’ve been following this case for a while.

Like most people who grow their own food, one of the reasons I do it is so I don’t have to eat genetically-modified food. I don’t like Monsanto (who does?). They’re insane. Someone’s got to make a stand against them and maybe this guy can do it.

It’s the end of the year and my personal spending budget has wound up in the black for once. Instead of buying myself a present I’ve donated $50 towards Steve Marsh’s fight against Monsanto. He deserves all the support he can get. Here’s hoping for a good outcome.

3 Responses to “Help this farmer fight Monsanto”

  1. notsomethingelse Says:

    Good on ya, foodnstuff. I donated a similar amount to Steve’s fighting fund, must be a couple of years ago now, when it first came to light.

    Incidentally, I don’t think Monsanto are insane. What they do is insane to any rational person, but I think they are working to a very carefully designed and well thought out plan to not only dominate world food supply but also to reap the benefits of supplying their, and their other big-pharma cronies monopolised pharmaceutical remedies to an increasingly sick population. Killing many but keeping the rest of them sick yet just alive enough to keep eating their GMO based diet. Talk about a captive market. A devious but very clever plan.

    Also, I think Steve’s case is not against Monsanto, if memory serves me well, but against his neighbour from whose property the GMO contamination drifted, and possibly against the WA State Government for allowing it to happen. However, I think that Monsanto are backing the defence of that neighbouring farmer who used their seed.

    It will certainly be interesting to follow the case next year.


  2. narf77 Says:

    Most interesting. W.A. is my home state and as such, I like to keep in touch. Kudos on your support for his cause and it will be very interesting to see how this all pans out…


  3. David Says:

    I am writing from Canada where we had a somewhat similar case some years ago known as Monsanto vs Schmeiser. He lost the case in the Supreme Court of Canada so very precedent setting. This is what Wikipedia says (in part).

    Origin of the patented seed in Schmeiser’s fields[edit]
    As established in the original Federal Court trial decision, Percy Schmeiser, a canola breeder and grower in Bruno, Saskatchewan, first discovered Roundup-resistant canola in his crops in 1997.[4] He had used Roundup herbicide to clear weeds around power poles and in ditches adjacent to a public road running beside one of his fields, and noticed that some of the canola which had been sprayed had survived. Schmeiser then performed a test by applying Roundup to an additional 3 acres (12,000 m2) to 4 acres (16,000 m2) of the same field. He found that 60% of the canola plants survived. At harvest time, Schmeiser instructed a farmhand to harvest the test field. That seed was stored separately from the rest of the harvest, and used the next year to seed approximately 1,000 acres (4 km²) of canola.
    At the time, Roundup Ready canola was in use by several farmers in the area. Schmeiser claimed that he did not plant the initial Roundup Ready canola in 1997, and that his field of custom-bred canola had been accidentally contaminated. While the origin of the plants on Schmeiser’s farm in 1997 remains unclear, the trial judge found that with respect to the 1998 crop, “none of the suggested sources [proposed by Schmeiser] could reasonably explain the concentration or extent of Roundup Ready canola of a commercial quality” ultimately present in Schmeiser’s 1998 crop.[5]
    In 1998, Monsanto learned that Schmeiser was growing a Roundup-resistant crop and approached him to sign a license agreement to their patents and to pay a license fee. Schmeiser refused, maintaining that the 1997 contamination was accidental and that he owned the seed he harvested, and he could use the harvested seed as he wished because it was his physical property. Monsanto then sued Schmeiser for patent infringement, filing its case in Canadian federal court on August 6, 1998.[4] Negotiations to settle the matter collapsed on August 10, 1999, leading Schmeiser to file a countersuit against Monsanto for $10 million for libel, trespass, and contaminating his fields.[6][7]
    Patent rights versus property rights[edit]
    Regarding the question of patent rights and the farmer’s right to use seed taken from his fields, Monsanto said that because they hold a patent on the gene, and on canola cells containing the gene, they have a legal right to control its use, including the intentional replanting of seed collected from plants with the gene which grew accidentally. Schmeiser insisted on his “farmer’s rights” to do anything he wished with seeds harvested from any plants grown on his field – including plants from seeds that were accidentally sown – and that this tangible property right overrides Monsanto’s patent rights.
    Canadian law does not mention any such “farmer’s rights”; the court held that the farmer’s right to save and replant seeds is simply the right of a property owner to use his or her property as he or she wishes, and hence the right to use the seeds is subject to the same legal restrictions on use rights that apply in any case of ownership of property, including restrictions arising from patents in particular. The court wrote: “Thus a farmer whose field contains seed or plants originating from seed spilled into them, or blown as seed, in swaths from a neighbour’s land or even growing from germination by pollen carried into his field from elsewhere by insects, birds, or by the wind, may own the seed or plants on his land even if he did not set about to plant them. He does not, however, own the right to the use of the patented gene, or of the seed or plant containing the patented gene or cell.”[4]


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