For me and people around the world, the Canadian farmer Percy Schmeiser became a hero when he stood up to Monsanto. After the company’s genetically
engineered (GE) seeds blew onto Schmeiser’s canola farm and contaminated his
fields, the multinational sued the farmer for growing their patented seeds
As Schmeiser saw it, Monsanto’s stray plants were
“pollution and the polluter should pay.” But Monsanto prevailed in a
Canadian court trial that was “overshadowed by accusations of aggressive
tactics and corporate bullying,” according to the Guardian of London.
This week, Schmeiser filed suit
against the corporation asking to be reimbursed for the $600 (Canadian) it cost
to dig up and destroy Monsanto’s GE canola seedlings on his land in 2005. The
trial was set to begin on January 23. Monsanto admitted their GE seeds had
contaminated his field but the company refused to pay unless Schemeiser signed
a non-disclosure statement.
“No way would we ever give that away to a
corporation,” Schmeiser replied. Although the case involves only one small
farm in Saskatchewan, it could set a precedent that could cost Monsanto
millions in legal settlements around the world. (thanks to the excellent Pesticides Action Network for this update. You can subscribe to PAN’s weekly updates on their home page).