Monsanto’s GMOs (genetically modified organisms: seeds) contaminate farmers’ fields; the company then trespasses onto farmers’ lands taking samples, and then sues, saying they own the crop. Monsanto is also taking many other steps to keep farmers and everyone else from having any access at all to buying, collecting, and saving of normal seeds:
- They’ve bought up the seed companies across the Midwest.
- They’ve written Monsanto seed laws and gotten US legislators to put them through, that make cleaning, collecting and storing of seeds so onerous in terms of fees and paperwork that having normal seed becomes almost impossible.
- Monsanto is pushing laws that ensure farmers and citizens can’t block the planting of GMO crops even if they can contaminate other crops.
- There are Monsanto regulations buried in the FDA rules that make a farmer’s seed cleaning equipment illegal because it’s now considered a source of seed contamination.
Monsanto has sued more than 1,500 farmers whose fields had simply been contaminated by GM crops.
For nearly all of its history the United States Patent and Trademark Office refused to grant patents on seeds, viewing them as life-forms with too many variables to be patented. But in 1980 the U.S. Supreme Court allowed for seed patents in a five-to-four decision, laying the groundwork for a handful of corporations to begin taking control of the world’s food supply.
Since the 1980s, Monsanto has become the world leader in genetic modification of seeds and has won at least 674 biotechnology patents, more than any other company. Not surprising, considering they invest over $2 million a day on research and development!
Monsanto is not only patenting their own GMO seeds. They have also succeeded in slapping patents on a huge number of crop seeds, patenting life forms for the first time — again without a vote of the people or Congress. By doing this, Monsanto becomes sole owner of the very seeds necessary to support the world’s food supply an incredibly powerful position that no for-profit company should ever hold.
They write on MonsantoToday.com:
Patent protection allows companies to see a return on their investment which enables further investment in R-and-D and product development. This profit-investment cycle drives product innovation that is responsive to farmer needs.
Where Do Farmers Fit In?
Farmers who buy Monsanto’s GM seeds are required to sign an agreement promising not to save the seeds or sell them to other farmers. The result? Farmers must buy new seeds every year, and they must buy them from Monsanto.
Meanwhile, these same farmers who Monsanto is claiming to help are being aggressively targeted and pursued for outrageous patent infringements on these same seeds.
Monsanto employs an arsenal of private investigators and agents who secretly videotape farmers, snatch crop samples from their land and even fly helicopters overhead to spy — all to catch farmers saving or sharing seeds. As of 2005 Monsanto had 75 employees and a $10-million budget solely to investigate and prosecute farmers for patent infringement.
Until recently, Monsanto has even been known to sue farmers for GM crops growing on their land that got there via cross-contamination. In other words, a neighboring farm’s GM seeds blew over onto their land, and Monsanto slaps them with a lawsuit.
Monsanto’s Seeds of Destruction: Terminator Seeds
Monsanto is also considering using what’s known as terminator technology on a wide-scale basis. These are seeds that have been genetically modified to self-destruct, meaning the seeds and the forthcoming crops are sterile. Farmers, therefore, are forced to buy them again each year.
When it comes to the implications that terminator seeds could have on the world’s food supply — the traits from genetically engineered crops can get passed on to other crops, and often do. Once the terminator seeds are released into a region, the trait of seed sterility could be passed to other non-genetically-engineered crops, making most or all of the seeds in the region sterile.
Not only would this mean that every farm in the world could come to rely on Monsanto for their seed supply, but if the GM traits spread it could destroy agriculture as we now know it.