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Some Farmers Now Protected Against Monsanto Lawsuits

farmerFarmers with crops that become contaminated by patented genetically engineered (GE) seeds or pollen have been the target of harassing lawsuits brought by biotech patent holders, especially Monsanto.

But a landmark piece of legislation protecting California's farmers from crippling lawsuits has passed through both legislative houses.

AB 541 enacts protections against lawsuits brought against California farmers who have not been able to prevent the inevitable drift of GE pollen or seed onto their land. The bill also establishes a mandatory crop sampling protocol to prevent biotech companies investigating alleged violations from sampling crops without the explicit permission of the farmers who own the land.
Dr. Mercola's Comments:
Imagine being a farmer who is trying to grow organic, non-genetically modified crops. Then imagine those crops being contaminated by a neighbor’s GM crops, whose seeds or pollen have blown over onto your land. Then imagine Monsanto coming in and trying to SUE you for violating the patent they’ve placed on those seeds!

That is outrageous!

Only a desperately evil company like Monsanto would have the unbridled greed to pull something like that. What is most shocking, though, is that Monsanto’s practice of targeting farmers for patent infringement is common, and well planned out.

It is not only the farmers whose crops have been contaminated by Monsanto’s GM seeds that are being investigated, but also farmers accused of saving Monsanto’s patented seeds to use the next year. Never mind that this is the way farmers have operated for generations; saving seeds from one year to the next makes sense financially and environmentally.

Of course Monsanto saw it as a cut in their profits, so they began to patent their seeds.

Since the 1980s, Monsanto has become the world leader in genetic modification of seeds and has won 674 biotechnology patents, more than any other company.

But 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 -- without a vote of the people or Congress.

Farmers who buy Monsanto’s Roundup Ready seeds are required to sign an agreement promising not to save the seeds or sell them to other farmers (What if the farmer doesn’t sign one? Not to worry, Monsanto has actually admitted to forging farmers’ signatures on technology agreements if they didn’t have one on file).

The end result of the agreements? Farmers must buy new seeds every year, and they must buy them from Monsanto.

Monsanto’s Seed Police

How would Monsanto know if farmers were reusing their seeds? They’ve hired an army of private investigators and agents to do just that. It’s difficult to say exactly how extensive this army of “seed police” actually is today, but as of 2005 Monsanto had 75 employees and a $10 million budget solely to investigate and prosecute farmers for patent infringement.

Let’s just say, for argument’s sake, you were inclined to agree with Monsanto about their right to monitor their seeds. They have, after all, invested millions of dollars into these (typically toxic) genetically modified seeds, and they need to recover some of that money. Well, can anyone rationally say that a farmer is responsible for patent infringement if a seed blows onto his property?

Of course not. And this is where the bill AB 541 will protect California’s farmers from this type of harassment.

I don’t believe for one second, though, that Monsanto has any justification in any of these matters. They are slowly working to take control of the entire food supply, and this is not an exaggeration.

Monsanto is considering using what’s known as terminator technology on a wide-scale basis. These are seeds that have been genetically modified to “self-destruct.” In other words, the seeds (and the forthcoming crops) are sterile, which means farmers must buy them again each year.

This solves their problem of needing “seed police,” but they are obviously looking the other way 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. 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.

If allowed to continue, every farmer in the world could come to rely on Monsanto for their seed supply … and this is not a company that you want in control of your food supply.

Why GM Crops are a Threat to Your Health

There have been no safety studies conducted that prove GM foods are safe. To the contrary, dicing and splicing the components of your food supply into never-before-introduced combinations has been found to:

Cause cancer 
• Contribute to food allergies
• Possibly cause damage to your immune system
• Create super-viruses

Why are these products still on the market (and in the United States, making up the vast majority -- 75 percent -- of processed foods)? Because there’s money to be made with them, and because it’s difficult to link health problems directly to them, in large part because many of the side effects happen over time.

This is not to say that no links have been made. It’s been proven, for instance, that bacteria in your gut can take up DNA from GM food, that GM peas caused lung damage in mice, and GM potatoes lead to cancer in rats.

Only time will reveal, as Jeffrey Smith, author of Seeds of Deception, points out in this excellent video, the extent of the unforeseen and surprising illnesses caused by GM foods.

How to Protect Your Health, and Support Organic Farmers

First, I urge you to get informed on the issue by watching The Future of Food. This in-depth investigation into the disturbing truth behind genetically modified foods is one of the best documentaries I have ever viewed. It will help you understand the very real threat that ALL future generations face as a result of genetic engineering.

Please do not be shy about forwarding this video to all of your friends and family, as it is something that everyone should see.

Next, support organic (and local) farmers who do not use Monsanto’s GM seeds by boycotting all GM foods. This is made easier by this Non-GMO Shopping Guide.