Saturday, January 21, 2012

Organic Farmers' Suit Against Monsanto Goes To Hearing In NYC

Organic Farmers' Suit Against Monsanto Goes To Hearing In NYC

"A court hearing in New York City at the end of this month will determine if a "pre-emptive" lawsuit by a clutch of U.S. and Canadian organic producers against seed and ag chem firm Monsanto will go ahead.

U.S. District Judge Naomi Buchwald said she will hear oral arguments Jan. 31 in Manhattan on a motion by St. Louis, Mo.-based Monsanto to dismiss the suit filed last March 31 by a group of 83 farmers, seed growers and farm organizations.

The suit "seeks court protection for innocent family farmers who may become contaminated by Monsanto seed," according to a release last week from the Colorado-based lead plaintiff, the Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association (OSGATA).

The suit, the plaintiffs claim, is "to protect themselves from being accused of patent infringement should their crops ever become contaminated by Monsanto's genetically modified seed."

"Last August we submitted our written rebuttal and it made clear that Monsanto's motion was without merit," OSGATA president Jim Gerritsen, a seed potato grower in northern Maine, said in the release. "Our legal team, from the Public Patent Foundation, is looking forward to orally presenting our position."

Canadian plaintiffs attached to the suit include Ottawa-based Canadian Organic Growers (COG), Quebec advocacy group Union Paysanne, the Manitoba Organic Alliance, the Peace River Organic Producers Association and a number of producers in Saskatchewan, Alberta, Manitoba and Ontario.

"Monsanto's technology is harmful for organic producers and processors," COG executive director Beth McMahon said in a separate release this week. "To penalize our growers for GMO contamination adds insult to injury, and we won't back down from this fight."
"Never been"

Monsanto's previous suits against farmers for alleged infringement on its patented seed suggest the company "intends to assert its transgenic seed patents against certified organic and nontransgenic seed farmers who come to possess more than 'trace amounts' of Monsanto's transgenic seed, even if it is not their fault," the plaintiffs claimed last year.
Between 1997 and April 2010, the organic producers' suit claims, Monsanto filed 144 lawsuits against farmers in at least 27 different states for alleged infringement of its transgenic seed patents and/or breach of its license to those patents."

More at the link

The enemy of farmers
The enemy of agriculture
The enemy of life.

To state these seeds were made without taking drift or transgenic contamination into account because it doesn't happen is ludicrous. I don't see how the judge could not come down on the side of farmers, but as we have seen there have not been many willing to do so. I wish them luck.

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