The Right To Farm Organically – Australian Farmer Fights Monsanto in Landmark Seed Contamination Suit
Alex Pietrowski, Staff Writer
Across the globe, farmers who choose to plant non-genetically modified seed instead of patented seed varieties from the agro-chemical giants like Monsanto, Dow, Syngenta and BASF, are being forced out of business by the burden and costs of fighting seed patent lawsuits.
Targeting farms who do not pay ‘technology fees’ for patented seed crops growing on their property that they may never have planted, the seed companies have for years been waging a trade war against traditional farmers. By contaminating non-genetically modified (GM) crops with patented seeds by wind drift and carelessness, the seed companies have found a way to drive competition out of business using the high costs of the legal system. Simply dispatch a team of lawyers to search for contamination, and sue until the farm goes under.
In Western Australia, organic farmer Steve Marsh is asking the world for immediate help as he engages in a landmark battle against the seed giants. Neighboring farms had chosen to plant genetically modified and patented canola seed which contaminated Marsh’s farm, although Marsh had never purchased nor planted GM seed. Being an organic farm, this meant the first financial blow was the loss of his organic certification, which is extremely difficult and expensive to obtain and maintain:
“In 2010 he lost his organic certification when GM canola from next door jumped the fence and contaminated 70% of his farm. In a world first, he is suing his GM neighbour for damages and if he wins he not only protects his right to grow clean GM free organic food, he also protects our rights to eat GM free foods.” [Source]
Now he is facing financial ruin as the seed companies press forward with technology patent suits against, and has chosen to try a unique approach in his defense, suing his neighbor losses incurred on behalf of contamination.
This case is unique for the world because Marsh has decided to sue another farm for damages as a result of his farm being contaminated. If his case against the other farm is won, it will signal a shift in how farmers may be able to fight against the monopolistic tactic of seed patent suits. If farmers who plant GM seed are aware that they may face litigation for contaminating their neighbors, then this would give GM farmers another reason not to plant genetically modified and chemical dependent crops.
Pro GM lobbying groups are offering financial and public relations support to the neighbor in this battle, and Marsh is asking the world to help him to finance this bout against GMOs and the corporate seed giants:
The practice of suing farmers whose fields have been undesirably contaminated by neighboring crops or even passing farm vehicles has been growing in the last couple of decades. Recently, the comedy team at The Daily Show took up this issue in a satirical piece about Monsanto patent lawyers and their outright and obvious attempts to totally control the international seed trade by ensuring that every farm who is not intentionally using GM seed is put out of business.
While satirical in presentation, this clip captures the diabolical madness of this trend and shows how generations old farms are being wiped out completely in a matter of years by hurling corporate lawyers and endless legal funds at legitimate, underserving farmers:
While the debate about the safety of GM foods carries on, behind the scenes the seed giants are still extending their global market share, by hook or by crook. Within a short number of years the safety debate may very well become a moot point as seed diversity and organic farming simply become a thing of the past, wiped out by the legal argument that seed, the very essence of life on earth, can be controlled and patented by corporations.
Back in 2008, CBS News ran this similar report about genetically modified soy contamination and the process of being targeted by Monsanto for doing absolutely nothing wrong, immoral or illegal:
Monsanto’s Side of the Story:
Monsanto, of course, views genetic modification of seed as critical to the future of humanity, and seed patents are an important means of making this leap towards feeding the world’s growing population. From a business standpoint patenting a product that required significant investment in research and development makes sense. But lacking in this argument from Monsanto is any connection to the real world potential for seed pollen to drift and contaminate other farms, and also lacking is any explanation for the global legal push to drive so many farmers totally out of business.
Watch the following Monsanto PR video explaining their position on the importance of seed patents:
This is the biblical struggle of David versus Goliath all over again, and organic farmer Steve Marsh needs the world’s support as his case goes to court in February in the Western Australia Supreme Court. Please share this story far and wide and visit the following pages:
About the Author
Alex Pietrowski is an artist and writer concerned with preserving good health and the basic freedom to enjoy a healthy lifestyle. He is a staff writer for WakingTimes.com and an avid student of Yoga and life.
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