Letter from Farmer Being Sued by Monsanto

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"The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, in diet and in the cause and prevention of disease."
- Thomas Edison

"Monsanto should not have to vouchsafe the safety of biotech food," said Phil Angell, Monsanto's director of corporate communications. "Our interest is in selling as much of it as possible. Assuring its safety is the FDA's job." 
- New York Times, October 25, 1998

"What the FDA is doing and what the public thinks it's doing are as different as night and day." - Dr. Herbert Ley, Former FDA Commissioner

"The FDA serves as the pharmaceutical industry's watchdog, which can be called upon to attack and destroy a potential competitor under the guise of protecting the public." - Dr. James P. Carter  

 

Below is a letter to Tony Blair from Canadian farmer Percy Schmeiser who has been locked in an extended GM contamination court case with Monsanto.


Mr Percy Schmeiser, Box 400,Bruno,Sask.S0KOSA Canada

Rt. Hon. Tony Blair MP
10 Downing Street
London

25th October 2000

Dear Prime Minister

In 1996 Canadian Farmers were encouraged to use Monsanto's Genetically Engineered Seeds. They were told there was potential for their crops to be more nutritious, that less chemicals would be used to grow the crops and that they were economically more viable as they would produce higher yields. The reality is that the market for Canadian Rape seed has dropped by 50% in only the last year, as much of the world does not want GE produce and will not buy it. The trade for Canadian honey has completely died because of loss of business due to GE contamination and subsequent loss of market. Instead of a drop in chemical use, farmers are now using between 6 and 10 times the amount they previously used.

Monsanto was aware of the implications of GE, they knew it would cross pollinate, that gene flow was uncontrollable: they had no intention of controlling it and now it is out of control.  Farmers in Canada were never warned of the hazards of contamination. If a single farmer plants GE seed, it will spread; there is no way to provide a buffer or a boundary which can protect other farmers from contamination, which occurs by seed drift by wind, machinery, birds, insects or animals.  Once you have GM, there is no longer any choice; there is no way back, you cannot change your mind.  In Canada it has become increasingly obvious that there is no safe distance.

You have to decide do you want GM or not, there is no half way measure, these seeds cannot be recalled. The issue of testing these seeds has to be very carefully considered, and must happen in controlled and closed conditions, they must not have access to the environment. Pollen will definitely drift.

By putting these seeds into the environment you have no idea of what is the long term outcome not only to the environment, but to the public, to animals, plants and insects.

A major concern is that of patents.  In Canada only a gene can be patented, it is not possible to patent a plant or a seed.  There is now much concern that if genes can be put into any life form, multi-national companies can then say they own that life form - where will it stop? Will they be able to own a human being?

There should never be a patent on a gene, they can patent the process but not the gene because it has always been there.  The loss of indigenous plants and seed is guaranteed, as the GE altered gene is always the dominant gene, which would mean loss of seed varieties and bio-diversity.

Farmers must never give up their rights to use their own seeds, they must never give up ownership. Once that occurs they are at the mercy of the multi-national seed companies.  If you lose control of the seed supply, you lose control of the food supply, if you lose control of that, you lose control of the country.

Yours faithfully,

Percy Schmeiser

 


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