Monday, June 23, 2003

On the GMO front, Saskatchewan canola farmer Percy Schmeiser tells his story of being sued by Monsanto to the tune of almost $200,000 for "stealing" the mega-corporation's GM technology, even though Schmeiser has never planted Monsanto seeds. How did the stuff get in Schmeiser's fields then?
I have learned the hard way that one of the main problems with GE (genetically engineered) crops is that it is impossible to keep their seeds and pollen from spreading to fields with non-GE crops. The seeds get blown by wind or passing trucks, or they get mixed with non-GE crops by accident or any number of other means of cross-contamination. In other words, there is no guarantee of containment of GE crops; ultimately they will spread throughout a given area. This is what happened to me. And, sooner or later, it will happen everywhere else.
Think Schmeiser is the exception? Not only is he one of five hundred and fifty people being sued by Monsanto for theft of their seed technology, take a look at last week's news that nearly 20% of US farmers planting BT corn are failing to comply with government regulations to prevent unwanted spread of the modified seeds' genetic information. Not only have these farmers failed to plant at least 20% of their acres with non-GM corn which would give pests room to munch on corn without BT and thus not build up quick resistance to the chemical; 13% of them (i.e. 2/3 of the violators) plant no non-GM corn at all!

Obviously there is simply too much money to be made in the short-term for Monsanto or the federal government to be worried about people like Percy Schmeiser. Instead the Bush administration has adopted a 'take-no-prisoners' approach to agricultural export policy -- with the EU, with Mexico, with anybody who tries to stand in the way of the global wrecking ball.

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