In a spectacular show of corporate power, Monsanto has succeeding in forcing a Canadian farmer to pay for genetically modified crops found growing in his fields, even though the seeds blew in from neighboring fields and he never intended to grow them in the first place.
?Basically, the judge is saying that it doesn?t matter how it got into your field, it?s Monsanto?s property. But how does a farmer know if he?s got a genetically altered seed that belongs to Monsanto?? asks the farmer, Percy Schmeiser of Saskatchewan, Canada.
Monsanto says it wants to stop farmers from “stealing” its property. Farmers in Canada and the U.S. must sign agreements with the company saying they will buy new GM seed each year, instead of saving seeds from the previous year?s harvest.
Investigators from Monsanto found the company?s insecticide-resistant canola growing in Schmeiser?s fields in 1998. After spraying a ditch for weeds and noticing some canola survived, he sprayed three nearby acres with the insecticide, killing off all but the genetically-modified canola.
He says the seeds probably blew off a passing truck in 1997. The judge said that even if Schmeiser?s explanation was true, it was his duty to destroy the plants once he realized they were a genetically-modified strain.
Schmeiser says he may counter-sue Monsanto for forcing him to destroy a variety of canola that he had been developing for the last 50 years.
Opinion: Monsanto’s ongoing effort to end seed-saving and force farmers to become dependent on the company for seeds continues. Let’s just hope they don’t manage to force the stuff down our throats as well!
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