Monsanto, one of three companies that control 53% of the world’s commercial seed market, has sued hundreds of small farmers in the United States in recent years to protect its patents on genetically-engineered seeds. Monsanto has sued 410 farmers and 56 small businesses for $23m on 142 patent infringement suits. Vernon Bowman (above) is one of those small farmers.
For a brief moment Vernon had Monsanto worried. The Bowman case came about after the 75-year-old farmer bought Monsanto’s soybeans for livestock feed from a grain elevator near his farm in Indiana and used it to plant a late-season second crop. He then used some of the resulting seeds to replant the crop. Because he bought them from a third party which put no restrictions on their use, Bowman argued that he was legally justified in planting and replanting them and that Monsanto’s patent on the seeds did not apply due to a law referred to as ‘Patent Exhaustion’.
However, he lost his case in the US federal courts and then later in the US Supreme Court. Monsanto once again protected its position. We’re not supporting Vernon from a legal position here – it seems that the courts have decided that what he did was illegal. We’re supporting him for reasons of morality, ecology and food security. We believe that it’s INSANE to allow just 3 companies to control most of the world’s commercial seeds. Our message is simple – let’s stop Monsanto.
If you are a European you have a vote that will force the European Union to take the first step in establishing a 5th International Crime, ECOCIDE. By the end of January 2014 ONE MILLION votes are required. This is NOT a petition, it’s a European wide vote. One million votes from at least 7 different European countries are required to support Ecocide. In Europe it is a huge opportunity to stop companies like Monsanto. The vote cannot be run a second time.
See here (pdf) for more information on seed giants versus small farmers.
See here for how the US government pressures poor countries to accept GMO crops.
‘Corporations did not create seeds and many are challenging the existing patent system that allows private companies to assert ownership over a resource that is vital to survival and that historically has been in the public domain’. Debbie Barker, Save Our Seeds
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