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Monsanto = Injustice = Unacceptable

18/12/2009

I just watched Food, Inc.

I remember being in Australia and hearing so many comments about this movie. I’ve been interested in watching it ever since, as I constantly run extremes between becoming vegetarian and adoring steak. The movie was fantastic in terms of bringing about awareness, but the section which brought my temper to its boiling point involved a company named Monsanto.

A bit of history, if you haven’t seen Food, Inc. Monsanto has produced many products, including saccharin, DDT, & Agent Orange (an agricultural chemical spray which was used as a chemical weapon in Vietnam). Furthermore, they apparently were involved in the Manhattan Project, developing nuclear weapons.

They are also the company which produces the pesticide known as “Roundup”. The scientists at Monsanto were reportedly the first to produce a Genetically Engineered crop. Thus, they patented a soybean known as “Roundup Ready”, as it is not killed by Roundup. So, spraying a field with Roundup will only kill the weeds, but not the crop.

This is taken from Wiki:

“Throughout 2004 and 2005, Monsanto filed lawsuits against many farmers in Canada and the U.S. on the grounds of patent infringement, specifically the farmers’ sale of seed containing Monsanto’s patented genes. In some cases, farmers claimed the seed was unknowingly sown by wind carrying the seeds from neighboring crops, a claim rejected in Monsanto Canada Inc. v. Schmeiser. These instances began in the mid to late 1990s, with one of the most significant cases being decided in Monsanto’s favor by the Canadian Supreme Court. By a 5-4 vote in late May 2004, that court ruled that “by cultivating a plant containing the patented gene and composed of the patented cells without license, the appellants (canola farmer Percy Schmeiser) deprived the respondents of the full enjoyment of the patent.” With this ruling, the Canadian courts followed the U.S. Supreme Court in its decision on patent issues involving plants and genes.”

Ultimately, Monsanto sues anyone who might even remotely infringe upon the rights of their patent. This includes a farm which doesn’t purchase seed from Monsanto, which doesn’t plant Monsanto, but might have the pollen from a neighboring Monsanto GE Soybean farm blow onto their own crop. They have a team of private investigators who effectively harass & intimidate farmers. Every single example in Food, Inc resulted in the farmer settling out of court – for who can take on such an entity affordably? One farmer, who was fairly wealthy, battled the legal gurus at Monsanto, spending $400,000.00 before the case even made it to court; he was told it would take at least $1,000,000.00 more to fight the case.

Of course, he settled. And he was one of the few who had the money to spend. Another man, who simply owns a business to clean the seeds from the debris and waste, was forced, under legal obligation, to share the names of any of his friends/customers who were potentially cleaning these Genetically Engineered seeds to plant themselves. Most of his friends wouldn’t talk to him before the legal deposition; now, they certainly won’t.

This is such a significant injustice. Mel found sources of Monsanto being tied to over 4500 Indian Farmer suicides. I quote her, “Did they also invent evil?”

So, what can you do? If you care, do two things:

1) Watch Food, Inc. Get the full details at Organic Consumer. Go to Wikipedia and take a look at their horrifying background.

2) Most importantly, sign a petition, Millions Against Monsanto.

I wrote the following opening to Hugh Grant, who is apparently their CEO and Director of the Board. No, not that Hugh Grant. Anyway, consider sending him your own letter.

And Buy Local!!

“I’m certain you’ve seen the secondary section of this letter before, but I’d like to add my own words. I am utterly outraged at the abuse that Monsanto is personally responsible for in terms of intimidating and wrongfully suing farms which do not choose to use your product. It is discouraging to think that our government would support the use of your patent in such cases.

Our country was built on the brilliance of inventors with vision, and for such vision I applaud your company. However, it is a gross injustice to take part in such a ridiculous application of the patent – suing those who are next to neighboring farms which might spread/pollinate their own. I assure you that I will never, NEVER, willingly purchase anything produced by your company. I will also be certain to spread the disgust and dismay that I feel towards your company through my own community of Christian 20s who are dead-set on changing our city and world. Furthermore, my internet community will be constantly made aware of the terrors your company brings to our own food industry.

Greed never wins, Mr. Grant. It may bring you lots of money, but it will never bring happiness.

Onward to the words you’ve likely perused before.”

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One comment

  1. Just got my Forbes magazine today and Monsanto is the #1 company in 2009…



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