Monsanto didn’t just wake up one day to find itself hated by much of the civilized world. Monsanto earns its Monsatan moniker with its actions.
Monsanto the Poseur
Monsanto poses as a beneficent entity trying to feed the world with drought-resistant crops that require less pesticide than other crops. (Organic farming uses no pesticide.) In reality, Monsanto has worked hard to monopolize the world’s seed supplies, buy up seed producing competitors or force them out of business, contaminate crops and lands all over the world, and keep secret how GMO planting uses more water than conventional or organically farmed crops. Monsanto has also used its deep pockets and considerable political influence to buy up the patents on life, a terrifying power play that should concern anyone with a pulse.
Once Monsanto’s GMO seeds have been blown by wind or moved by pollinators (bees and birds Monsanto’s cancer-causing glyphosate has yet to kill off) beyond fence lines and into neighboring fields, the great and powerful Monsanto then threatens to file legal action to destroy the family farmers’ crops or take his land and business. Most small farmers are forced to settle out of court (they can’t afford to go toe-to-toe with the great Monsatan in the courts, which Monsanto mostly owns) away from the prying eyes of the press and U.S. citizens.
Monsanto’s duplicitous legal argument is that the farmer has violated its patent rights and must therefore pay a steep price.
U.S. Supreme Court backs Monsanto
In January 2014, the US Supreme Court upheld Monsanto’s claims regarding GMO seed patents and the biotech giant’s ability to sue farmers whose fields are contaminated with Monsanto materials.
The nation’s highest court left intact a federal appeals court decision that threw out a 2011 lawsuit from the Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association and more than 80 other plaintiffs against Monsanto. The lawsuit sought to challenge Monsanto’s aggressive claims on patents of its GMO seeds. The lawsuit also aimed to keep Monsanto from suing farmers whose fields Monsanto contaminates and then claims infringement upon.
The plaintiffs group included several American and Canadian family farmers, independent seed companies and agricultural organizations. They sought preemptive protections against Monsanto’s patents. The court refused to see why they deserved such protection.
Monsanto sues Farmers Routinely
Monsanto has filed more than 140 lawsuits against farmers for planting Monsanto GMO seeds without permission, most of those cases against farmers who had already paid for Monsanto seed but then reused them without buying more seed. Monsanto also settled, after making legal threats, with some 700 other farmers, virtually all of whom are forced to sign non disclosure agreements whereby they agree not to reveal the terms of their “settlement” with the biotech bully from Missouri.
In the lawsuit turned back by the high court in 2014, none of the plaintiffs were Monsanto customers. None had licensing agreements with the company. The plaintiffs argued that they didn’t and don’t want anything to do with Monsanto GMOs; therefore, they deserve legal protections to keep Monsanto from suing them when Monsanto products pollute their lands.
Court remarks Monsanto’s “Promise”
The appeals court decision was absurdly based on Monsanto’s “promise” not to sue farmers whose crops – including corn, soybeans, cotton, canola and others – contained traces of Monsanto’s biotech products.
In June 2013, the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington, DC said it was inevitable that Monsanto contamination would occur. Yet the appeals panel also said the plaintiffs do not have standing to prevent Monsanto’s suing them should its “genetic traits” pollute their lands. The court’s reasoning? “[b]ecause Monsanto has made binding assurances that it will not ‘take legal action against growers whose crops might inadvertently contain traces of Monsanto biotech genes (because, for example, some transgenic seed or pollen blew onto the grower’s land).'”
The panel’s reference to “traces” of Monsanto’s patented genes means farms that are affected by less than 1 percent. If more than 1 percent then, Monsanto may apparently sue.
The plaintiffs also asked Monsanto to pledge not to sue, but Monsanto refused; so one wonders what the appellate court used for ballast in genuflecting to Monsanto’s “promise” not to sue.
A Monsanto statement said, “A blanket covenant not to sue any present or future member of petitioners’ organizations would enable virtually anyone to commit intentional infringement.”
GMO Seeds survive Mass Glyphosate Poisoning to Pollute Food Supply
Monsanto’s GMO seeds are designed to withstand Monsanto’s herbicide, Roundup, with its main ingredient – cancer-causing glyphosate.
“Monsanto never has and has committed it never will sue if our patented seed or traits are found in a farmer’s field as a result of inadvertent means,” said Kyle McClain, the Monsanto’s chief litigation counsel, according to Reuters.
“Inadvertent,” of course, can now mean anything Monsanto wants it to mean.
Family Farmers Monsanto Predicament
Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association President Jim Gerritsen expressed disappointment that the Supreme Court reaffirmed the previous ruling by refusing to hear the case.
“The Supreme Court failed to grasp the extreme predicament family farmers find themselves in,” said Gerritsen, an organic seed farmer in Maine. “The Court of Appeals agreed our case had merit. However … safeguards they ordered are insufficient to protect our farms and our families.”
The plaintiffs – many of them non-GMO farmers – also lost a district court case.
Monsanto Wins at Both Ends
“If Monsanto can patent seeds for financial gain, they should be forced to pay for contaminating a farmer’s field, not be allowed to sue them,” said Dave Murphy, founder and executive director of Food Democracy Now! “Once again, America’s farmers have been denied justice, while Monsanto’s reign of intimidation is allowed to continue in rural America.”
Monsanto Owns The Courts, Owns Life
Monsanto, of course, knows that no fencing in the world can stop its crops from polluting the crops of neighboring farms. What happens, typically, is that elements of Monsanto’s corn and soy crops blow into nearby fields where farmers are either organically farming or using more traditional pesticides. Monsanto then files legal actions against the neighboring farmers, charging them with patent infringement. Monsanto says those farmers never paid for the Monsanto seeds, so they have no right to grow the Monsanto products on their property.