Monsanto and crops contaminated with its GM pollen:
In the late 90's a Canadian farmer named Percy Schmeiser discovered that his canola crop was contaminated with Monsanto's "Roundup Ready" genes, making it resistant to the weed killer Roundup, due to pollen from genetically modified plants drifting onto his farm. ( U.S. farmers now use "Roundup Ready" genetically engineered crop varieties for 90% of the soybeans and 80% of the corn grown across the U.S., among other crops like canola so-modified. These engineered plants can withstand doses of the weed killer that would kill a normal plant. The weed killer is sprayed on the crop plantin the preocess of spraying weeds.) Monsanto has sued Schmeiser and others for selling crops that contain Monsanto's genes, even though the farmers had no intent or desire to have their crop genetically modified. The courts in Canada and the U.S. have upheld Mansanto's assertion that Monsanto owns the farmers' crops due to this unwanted contamination, and in both the U.S. and Canada, have backed Monsanto's claim that it was wrong for the farmers to use the seed once the crop had picked up Monsanto's gene (had become contaminated). An original judgment against Schmeiser which ordered him to pay Monsanto $100,000, was later reversed by the Canadian supreme court, but the principle that the farmers were in adverse possession of Monsanto's patented genes was upheld. Click here for one of many sites addressing this matter. For a 2008 article in Native Nutrition by Percy Schmeiser click here. For and interview with Percy Schmeiser which looks at the Canadian Supreme Court decision by Global Vision, click here. For a 2008 article in Native Nutrition by Percy Schmeiser click here. For and interview with Percy Schmeiser by Global Vision, click here.
For Monsanto's argument that the farmers they are suing have been using their seed unfairly and for financial gain, click here. There are a number of articles in the bar on the left. Monsanto says Percy Schmeiser is just a liar, and the Canadian courts upheld Monsanto's position that he used their seed in adverse possession and deliberately. Monsanto has worked up a lie from the fact that Schmeiser and others cultivated crops from their contaminated seed, as if they planned it that way. Farmers have cultivated crops after the fact of contamination, when they had no choice. They had to move ahead despite the contamination and sell their crop, but they had no desire to wind up in this situation. But the courts have said it doesn't matter haw the seeds got that way the farmers are still in adverse possession of Monsanto's altered genes. It is crazy. The Canadian court even said that uncontaminated crops on a farm where there was some contamination belong to Monsanto because the spread of Monsanto's pollen to the rest of the farm was inevitable.
I have learned that Monsanto's "terminator gene," which guarantees sterility in its GM crops so that farmers can't reseed, (use seeds from one season's crop to plant next year's crop) but must buy new seeds yearly from Monsanto, may be deployed. Monsanto appeared to have had backed down some years ago after protests arose. Cross pollination could spread the terminator gene indiscriminately, resulting in an epidemic of plant sterility.
Amusingly, going back to Roundup Ready genes, weeds are becoming resistant to Roundup, as recently reported in the Wall Street Journal, meaning that Roundup is being abandoned in favor of older weed killers like 2,4-D and dicamba. Thus Roundup Ready genes will no longer serve their dubious purpose even as they persist in spreading, by cross-pollination, to plant life around the world. ....It is interesting to note that the resistance to Roundup probably evolved via two routes: (1) by the normal process of evolution whereby plants that by chance are genetically resistant survive and multiply, while the rest die (this is an example of Darwinian "natural selection" aka "survival of the fittest"), and (2) by Monsanto genes, which give resistance to Roundup to the crop plant, cross-pollinating the surrounding weed population, and thus giving the weeds resistance to Roundup. Note: Du Pont, and Dow and Bayer are among the other corporate players in GM crops. It may be noted that Monsanto's stock is going down amid various GM crop problems. Article click here.