Who says monsters can’t be beaten? Certainly not Percy Schmeiser—a humble farmer in the Canadian prairies. When he planted seeds he probably didn’t realize he would come up against the genetically-modified seed giant Monsanto as part of a decade-long lawsuit. More than that, he probably never imagined he’d be sitting in the victor’s seat. But that’s just what he’s doing.
Monsanto has the reputation of a billion-dollar wielding bully. They’ve slapped lawsuits on many farmers including Percy Schmeiser. But in this modern day David-and-Goliath story, Percy fought back. Monsanto charged him with patent infringement. Over 320 hectares of his land were found to be contaminated with the company’s patented “Roundup Ready Canola.” Innocent or not, most farmers settle with the corporate giant rather than face huge legal bills and years of stress.
“I never put those plants on my land. The question is, where do Monsanto’s rights end and mine begin?” said Schmeiser, who charged Monsanto with libel, trespassing, improperly obtaining seed samples from his farm, callous disregard for the environment for its introduction of genetically-modified (GM) crops without proper controls and containment, and contamination of his crops with unwanted GM plants. Monsanto finally settled out of court to clean up Schmeiser’s land.
His victory is tempered by The Federal Court of Canada decision to uphold the validity of Monsanto’s patent, dismissing Schmeiser’s challenge to the patent, since it stated that Monsanto cannot control the spread of its GM seed due to wind or pollination. Those implications for farmers across Canada are huge since it means corporate giants that contaminate food, crop, and potentially even wild lands are NOT accountable for their frankenseeds, even if they unleashed them on the world. Scary thought!
But, any victory over a frankenseed-introducing corporate giant that threatens food supplies and our ecosystem should be celebrated. Percy Schmeiser’s victory over Monsanto is a victory for all farmers, all Canadians, and everyone who eats…that’s everyone!
Now, Mr. Schmeiser needs support in slaying another giant–legal bills. If you want to know more about his story, or can help with a donation, visit his website: www.percyschmeiser.com.