Sisters of St. Joseph of CarondeletDecember 15, 2017

Earth Concerns News

Canadian Farmer Receives Mixed Judgement by Courts by Sister Clare Pelkey, CSJ


(The following article pertains to the outcome of the Montsanto versus Schmeiser lawsuit that nations around the globe have been following.)

 

Percy Schmeiser, a Canadian canola farmer, was falsely accused by Monsanto Corporation when its genetically engineered seed was discovered growing in Schmeiser=s crop. Montsanto alleged that, since Schmeiser hadn=t purchased seed from the company, he was infringing on its patent.

In an effort to clear his name and to bring to light what Monsanto was doing, Schmeiser, age 70, entered into a five-year, legal and moral battle, traveling extensively in the United States, Canada and other countries. He told his story in an effort to inform and educate his listeners about the unknown dangers of genetically engineered food and the profit-seeking actions of a corporate giant intent on monopolizing its market.

Concerns about genetically engineered food centers on the following three areas: the fact that a gene once introduced cannot be recalled, what the health and safety issues are and how far one can control life forms.

In 2001, two lower courts ruled in favor of Monsanto and said that Schmeiser would have to pay the company $140,000 in damages and legal fees. Schmeiser then appealed to the Canadian Supreme Court.

On May 21, 2004, the Supreme Court handed down a decision that Schmeiser said left him with mixed emotions.  AIt was a personal victory; I do not have to pay Monsanto one cent for profits, damages, penalties, court costs or their technology-use fee of $15/acre; as I have said all along, I didn't take advantage or profit from Monsanto's technology in my fields.  On the bigger issue of whether or not their patent is valid, the court ruled that it is, and we have to accept that judgment. Now it is clear that a company's patent will take precedence over the rights of farmers to save and reuse their seed.@

(On October 2, 2000,  the 131st anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi=s birth, Schmeiser was presented with India's Mahatma Gandhi Award, given by Gandhi=s family to those working for the betterment of humankind in a nonviolent way.  It was presented to him while he was in India for a series of speaking engagements.)

 

(January 2005)