Wednesday, July 13, 2011
Multi-billion dollar Multi-national company Monsanto sues area farmers over pennies
First of all, if you don't know about Monsanto, watch the documentary The World According to Monsanto. The director definitely has an agenda, but it is an interesting look into patenting, genetics, and the legal mechanisms that have allowed Monsanto to completely dominate the world seed trade; leaving many casualties in its wake. Accordingly, the film also explores how Monsanto was able to legally patent a gene, and whether this is ethically justifiable.
I do not want to start giving away all of the details of the film, but the documentary shows the great lengths Monsanto has gone to in order to spread their gene across all crops, and the method it employs to ensure all farmers growing crops exhibiting their gene pay up. Many farmers, whose families have been in the seed trade for generations, have been forced into bankruptcy by frivolous lawsuits and fear-mongering among neighboring farmers.
It looks like Monsanto is at it again, suing two Erie area farmers over the 'illegal' practice of replanting patented seeds. Whether they did or not, it's hard to prove their innocence given the fact that the gene is a dominant trait, and any plant that is fertilized by a Monsanto plant will show the patented gene. For example, if a non-Monsanto corn field is planted down-wind from a Monsanto planted corn field, the next generation of non-corn seeds will express the Monsanto gene due to natural reproduction. Therefore, by natural selection, the Monsanto gene is favorable.
Furthermore, these farmers stand little chance against Monsanto's lawyers who will pile litigation up on the farmers, until they can no longer afford the legal fees, and will be forced to shut down. But Monsanto has to defend their product, right?