Farmers Face Lawsuits and Intimidation From Monsanto
Monsanto Investing News web page.
Stray seeds land farmer in court
The Independent - London
FARMERS WHO find that stray genetically modified seeds
have blown on to their land from neighbours' fields and then
taken root could face massive fines if the agrochemical giant
[ Monsanto ] wins a test case in a Canadian court.
Percy Schmeiser, a farmer in Saskatchewan, Canada, is being pursued by
Monsanto for damages
and the profits from his fields because the company claims that the patent
on its genetically
modified (GM) seeds has been violated. GM canola (rape) plants from
Monsanto seeds were
found growing among his crops. The farmer believes that the seeds blew onto his
land. If Monsanto wins the test case, due to go to court this autumn, British
farmers in similar
situations could also face court cases culminating in having to pay
thousands of pounds in compensation.
But Mr Schmeiser never signed a contract to grow Monsanto's GM canola and
says he is not
liable to the big fines the company imposes for using seed from crops. His
fields run along a
main road which links a grain silo and a rubbish dump where used seed
sacks are thrown away.
The prairies can be windy and cut crops are often blown on to neighbouring
fields. Mr Schmeiser, who has spent thousands of dollars on legal fees and who
will have to pay a
massive bill if he loses, has a library of photographs showing stray seeds
and plants from
neighbouring farmers. In Canada and the US, Monsanto has hired Robinson
Investigations, a private firm founded by
former police officers, to question farmers and take samples from their land.