This is the company that won’t allow farmers to save seeds. If a farmer buys GMO (genetically modified organism) seeds from Monsanto, they must sign an agreement not to save seeds. I guess that means the farmer is only renting the plants they grow. By Monsanto’s reasoning, they developed the seed, the farmer buys the seed, grows the plant on his land, but doesn’t really “own” the plant because he can’t use any seed produced.
If you dare to break the agreement, they will squash you like the little bug (no pun intended) they think you are. Over the years, they have brought lawsuits against many farmers and have generally won. My guess, and it’s only a guess because I have not read the court cases, is Monsanto won on contract law. If the farmer signed the contract, then he is bound to uphold the terms.
These GMO seeds are already crossing with non-GMO plants. I predict, due to my knowledge of hybridization and my life-long gardening, that this will prove to be a disaster in the future.
Imagine, if you will, a world where nothing you grow will produce seed that is usable. Most hybrid plants will not reproduce true to form. If you save the seeds from the hybrid tomatoes you purchased at a store and try and grow the seeds the following year, don’t count on eating any tomatoes.
Huh?! A company “owns,” essentially, the rights to food seeds? How is that even possible? If anyone else had written this, I would probably have dismissed it as hysteria and hyperbole, but as it was written by someone whom I know not to be given to either hysteria or hyperbole, I thought I better look into it further.
Monsanto is a vast, multi-national corporation that has genetically modified its canola, soy, wheat, and other crop seeds to be resistant to its own RoundUp sprays. The crops will not die when RoundUp is sprayed to control pests and weeds, and these GMO seeds have been patented by Monsanto. Pause, digest this: the SEEDS are patented.
Monsanto has also genetically-modified seeds so that even though a plant will produce seeds, they will not germinate (grow); they are modified to self-destruct, in other words. Seeds, then, must be bought year after year . . . from Monsanto. Indeed, even if you are a farmer using GMOs that are not “programmed” to self-destruct, you must sign a contract stating that you will not only buy new seeds each year from Monsanto but that you will also pay a “fee” per harvest for the privilege.
On the one hand, this makes a certain amount of business sense if you’re Monsanto, but the problem is that these genetically-modified seeds are contaminating non-GMO seeds that are planted within X number of miles of the patented seeds. When the GMO seeds travel by wind, insect, bird, or beast to pure, natural-seeded crops, they cross-pollinate, making the produced seeds GMO hybrid monsters that are, courts have ruled over and over, the property of Monsanto.
So. Let’s say you are growing heirloom corn in your field, and the guy or gal next door or down the road is growing Monsanto GMO monsters. The wind blows, a bird or bee flutters from field to field, a mouse or raccoon skitters between the two, and your corn is contaminated. Guess who owns your corn and its seeds. Monsanto. Not you. Not only that but your Monsanto’s seeds are now forever monsterfied by genetic modification. They may be RoundUp resistant, they may not produce viable seed, or they may be both. But they’re not yours whatever they may be. They belong, on your land and in your fields, to Monsanto.
This could be problematic on the small scale, but as Adrienne points out, there is no way that eventually all crops will not be infected. Eventually, by the process of nature, no crops will be free of GMO’s; eventually all seed will be good for only one season because the resultant crop seeds cannot be resown (not only will Monsanto sue you if you try, but why bother? They won’t germinate, they won’t grow).
Learning all this I was horrified (especially as I’ve begun my own feeble attempts to grow tomatoes and such in pots on my porch), and felt the need to learn still more, so I watched David vs. Monsanto on my fabulous Roku. Through the entire film, I just kept thinking, why don’t we know about this?
A brief overview of this excellent documentary and its focus, Mr. Percy Schmeiser of Canada: Mr. Schmeiser is a Canadian canola farmer whose fields were contaminated by a neighbor’s Monsanto crops–the seeds from the neighbors crop pollinated Schmeiser’s crops by wind (or insects or whatever, certainly not by Schmeiser’s hand). This was not, obviously, Schmeiser’s desire, but it was beyond his–and importantly, beyond Monsanto’s–control.
Shmeiser harvested his crops and separated the seeds for next year’s crops as farmers have been doing since forever, but Monsanto stepped in and sued him for stealing their patented GMO seeds. Schmeiser was almost ruined by this suit and was terrorized and harassed by Monsanto thugs; his wife, at one point, was afraid to leave their home.
At the end of years of harassment, hundreds of thousands dollars spent, the Canadian Supreme Court ruled that Monsanto does indeed “own” the canola seeds and that they cannot be reused, even if they were not planted in the first place!. They also ruled that Schmeiser, because he was not actively stealing the patented seeds, was not liable for damages. Small victory, but at least he didn’t have to pay the ridiculous amount Monsanto was demanding on top of having insisted Schmeiser’s entire crop and seeds be destroyed (you can read more about it here).
Schmeiser is just one in a long, long line of small farmers who are being threatened, harassed, sued, and shut down by Monsanto; there are more than we even know small American farmers who’ve suffered the same treatment (some were discussed in this documentary). Governments in Canada and the U. S. are complicit in this, of course, with laws dictating what can and cannot be grown, how it can be used, etc. Farmers are faced with the choice of either planting these government-approved GMO crops or going bankrupt.
Why isn’t the entire freaking nation not only alarmed and afraid but speaking out about this travesty? Turns out that they are, en masse, across the globe today in the #MarchAgainstMonsanto.
Now I know it’s easy (perhaps a bit too easy) to reject such protests simply because regressives and assorted anarchists, commies, et al. are also involved. But here’s the thing, so the frack what? If this is wrong, then it’s wrong. Period. No matter who else thinks it’s wrong. One of the things that angers me most about leftists (everyone from regressive loons to more centrist Obots) is the incredible lack of any principle at all. They hate when Bush does something, but when Obama does the same thing or worse, they defend and support it. They claim to hate government oppression and champion freedom of speech and the press, but the minute Obama shows his true tyrant colors, they tune out, defend it (oh, well, as long as it’s only conservatives being targeted, who cares? The TEA Party deserves to be silenced, they say!), and minimize every Constitutional and legal violation.
I refuse to do that, I refuse to consider issues and important encroachments on life and liberty only in light of whether or not leftists support or condemn them. Too many conservatives are of the mind that if leftists hate drone strikes on civilians or on American soil, then we should automatically support them (ditto Obama’s illegal war in Libya and a myriad of other issues). That’s mindless, knee-jerk nonsense, and we conservatives are better than that. Heaps better, actually. So if you see anything wrong with the whole Monsanto thing–and our government, BOTH sides of the aisle, is not only complicit in but profiting from it–then learn more and stand up and be heard. If not today, then in the near future before we are all dependent on “public-private partnerships” (aka fascism) for our food.