July 17, 2008

Monsanto Loses Canadian GMO Dispute

In late March, Canadian farmer Percy Schmeiser won a small victory against Monsanto Corporation after a decade-long legal engagement.

His struggle began in 1997 when the company sued Schmeiser after the its genetically modified canola plants were discovered growing on Schmeiser’s property in Saskatchewan.

Schmeiser said the modified canola was blown onto his property from a nearby farm, but Monsanto sued for $400,000, citing patent infringement and failure to pay technology fees.

Schmeiser and his wife became international spokespeople for farmer’s rights and the fight against genetically modified crops — but in 2004, Canada’s Supreme Court ruled against the Schmeisers, reinforcing Monsanto’s patent, but waiving punitive damages.

One year later, in 2005, Schmeiser found more of Monsanto’s plants on his farm, and after uprooting them billed Monsanto $660 for the labor.

The issue landed in small claims court, and Monsanto agreed to pay as long as the Schmeisers didn’t discuss the case.

The Schmeisers rejected the offer.

“There was no way we were going to give up our freedom of speech to a corporation,” said Mr. Schmeiser told The Globe & Mail of Toronto.

Finally, in March, Monsanto paid the fees with no conditions.

“After 10 years, finally justice has been served,” Mr. Schmeiser said.

–Julia Hengst/Newsdesk.org

Source:

“Grain Farmer Percy Schmeiser Claims Moral Victory in Seed Battle Against Monsanto”
The Globe & Mail (Canada), March 21, 2008

5 thoughts on “Monsanto Loses Canadian GMO Dispute

  1. It seems Percy was more interested in publicity than settling the case. The fact that genetically modified crops were found on his field doesn’t mean he should go around the world spreading falsehoods about the science behind them.

    It’s fine for him to educate the public about “dangers” of genetically modified foods, but such should be done within the confines of scientific principles. There’s no substitute for truth as far as the debate about genetically modified organisms are concerned.

    Percy knows very well that that the public cringes at the mention of Monsanto and genetically modified foods. So, he would like to use this fear to draw a wedge between GMOs and the potential farmers and consumers who might like to use them.

  2. Percy has a right to speak out. Monsanto, it seems, was more interested the settling than in publicity. Why would they have asked for a gag order? Particularly if, as mwana claims, Science is Truth.

  3. If you know anything about this case at all, it is not about the money (to Schmeiser) it is about the principle of owning life. There is much opposition to this concept, and this case is a perfect example of how this insane concept of owning life by patenting genes causes problems for everyone involved. It is one thing to grow GMOs if they do not contaminate others’ crops; it is entirely another when the GMOs contaminate farmers’ fields who don’t want the product. What about organic farmers? If these genes mix with organic crops, the organic farmers will lose the whole harvest. The nature of plant reproduction is the “problem” but I am sure Monsanto will take care of that once the Terminator Gene is growing freely. Look into this company’s history (google Anniston, Alabama/PCBs or Agent Orange) this company has a history of polluting the environment to the point where whole towns have near vanished or died off from strange cancers as in Anniston. Then, once the damage has been done, the company attempts to distance itself from the problems it has caused, but we remember. See aspartame and rBST. These products have been found to cause health problems in rats by many scientists who have nothing to gain by going up against Monsanto. Once public opinion shifted against these products, Monsanto sold/plans to sell them and began to distance itself from them. Seriously, do some research on this company, and you will better understand Schmeiser’s thinking. Publicity is what is needed and what Monsanto wants to prevent (see New York Times articles on the PA rBST ban). If these products are so great, why does the company want to keep the public from being informed of their use? Why don’t they advertise on their cartons of milk: “We use rBST and are proud of it! It is a great product!!” Because people don’t want to buy milk from cows treated by this hormone. I personally, do not want to buy anything that has been touched in any way by Monsanto Company. You can’t screw up as badly as they have in the past and expect people to forgive…or forget. There is no milk shortage anyway, so why do we need to produce so much more of it? It makes no sense. Research the Cornell report on Bt Cotton in China. Check out Bt Cotton in India. Farmer suicides there have risen astronomically since the introduction of the GMO. Farmers in Argentina are burning Monsanto’s fields. Not everyone thinks this company’s products are that great.