Friday, September 17, 2010

Food Farmer Gets Livelihood Alternative Nobel Prize Award for Fight Against Monsanto’s GMO Lawsuits and Future of Non-GMO Seeds

Tags: Food Farmer Gets Livelihood Alternative Nobel Prize Award for Fight Against Monsanto’s GMO Lawsuits and Future of Non-GMO Seeds

I first became familiar with Percy Schmeiser when I listened to Democracy Now on Pacifica Radio KPFK in Los Angeles, the radio station that dissects corporate fiction and tells us the real truth. Amy Goodman, a true hero in the fight against corporate dominance of what we see, hear, and read.

Schmeiser, a Canadian Canola farmer, was the first small farmer willing to risk his retirement savings and his farm and livelihood to fight the injustice of Monsanto’s many lawsuits where they plant GMO crops and when seeds drift into the small farmers natural food crop, they sue the farmers to make money.

Then Monsanto made much more money from lawsuits than from selling the seeds and forcing the farmers to use their roundup weed killer product. Monsanto has also gone through the seed storage banks to patent all the nature seeds they could. Again the patent office and courts facilitated doing something that was thought against the law just like the Supreme Court declaring corporations people!

Elections have consequences!!

Since we all eat, knowing what we eat is especially important. I strongly recommend reading the book Seeds of Deception: Exposing Industry and Government Lies About the Safety of the Genetically Engineered Foods You are Eating by Jeffrey M. Smith, 2003.

Here is one review: “Outrageous! That’s what you’ll say over and over again when you read how the biotechnology companies have manipulated the government, our food, and the media, and put an entire generation at risk. Notions of independence and integrity in the Nation’s food regulatory agencies are shattered in the well-documented, captivating book” ---Ben Cohen, CoFounder, Ben & Jerry’s

Monsanto’s top marketing guy was then second in command in the FDA when these so-called foods were approved without any revealed tests by Monsanto. The climate is such now that a scientists is fired when they tell the truth. One we know of is the British researcher who reported the truth in saying that GMO potatoes which McDonalds was already using caused serious ulcers in rats. McDonalds had to go back to natural potatoes.

I found by following my science background tests that GMO soybeans which Japan refuses to import, causes me to get diarrhea. Others have said the same thing. Unfortunately so many people got diarrhea from many untested contaminated foods we eat that many do not detect the problem. Organic Tofu is cheap because Japan imports huge amounts of organic soybeans now.

Elections have consequences. Talk facts, not opinions with your friends and acquaintances. This is what they did in the Bush administration ... .

I feel good that Percy Schmeiser got the Alternative Nobel Prize because lots of us contributed to his cause.

Jim Kawakami, Sept 17, 2010,

Percy Schmeiser vs Monsanto: The Story of a Canadian Farmer’s Fight to Defend the Rights of Farmers and the Future of Seeds
Gathered here in Bonn this week are some eighty Right Livelihood Award laureates, including the Canadian farmer Percy Schmeiser, who has battled the biotech giant Monsanto for years. When Monsanto seeds blew into Schmeiser’s property, Monsanto accused him of illegally planting their crops and took him to court. Ultimately his case landed in the Canadian Supreme Court. He was awarded the Right Livelihood Award in 1997 for fighting to defend the rights of farmers and the future of seeds. [includes rush transcript–partial]

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AMY GOODMAN: We’re broadcasting from Bonn, Germany, where the thirtieth anniversary of the Right Livelihood Awards is being held. The Right Livelihood Award was established in 1980 and has become widely known as the Alternative Nobel Prize. Gathered here in Bonn this week are some eighty Right Livelihood Award laureates, including the Canadian farmer Percy Schmeiser, who has battled the biotech company Monsanto for years. In 1997, Percy and his wife Louise won the Right Livelihood Award for their courage in defending biodiversity and farmers’ rights. I spoke with Percy Schmeiser yesterday in Bonn, but first I want to turn to Bertram Verhaag’s documentary Percy Schmeiser: David versus Monsanto.

NARRATOR: The pesticide Roundup produced by the multinational concern Monsanto is the most widely sold spray in the world. Monsanto made its canola resistant to Roundup. This means Roundup kills every plant without exception. Only Monsanto’s genetically modified canola remains alive.

PERCY SCHMEISER: It was introduced without really much testing being done. And I think, even at that time, when it was introduced in the middle of the '90s, that even the governments were taken in by what these corporations told what it would do, like increase yields and less chemicals and more nutritious. And I think the governments even believed the corporation.

NARRATOR: In 1996, the chemical giant Monsanto introduced its brand of canola into Canada, a brand resistant to the pesticide Roundup. In Schmeiser's region, three farmers agreed to plant Monsanto’s new GMO canola. Due to a heavy storm during the harvest, freshly cut GMO canola drifted into Percy Schmeiser’s fields. His work of fifty years of breeding was destroyed, because his harvest was contaminated by Monsanto’s seed.

PERCY SCHMEISER: It came like a—like a time bomb, like a shock to me, that my seed was ruined through cross-pollination or direct seed drift by a substance, by a seed I didn’t want in my land. And so, it was very disgusting and hard to take that I had lost something that I worked fifty years on.

NARRATOR: Contamination and destruction of his own breed was irrevocably damaging to Percy Schmeiser. But on top of that, Monsanto turned him, the victim, into a culprit.

AMY GOODMAN: An excerpt from the documentary Percy Schmeiser: David versus Monsanto.

Well, I met Percy Schmeiser yesterday here in Bonn and asked him to talk about this epic struggle he has with the biotech giant Monsanto. It’s one of the largest biotech companies in the world.

  • PERCY SCHMEISER: It started in 1998, when Monsanto laid what they call a patent infringement lawsuit against my wife and myself, and they charged us that we were growing their genetic altered, or GMO, canola, as we call it in Canada. And that was the beginning of it. And as GMOs were introduced in North America in 1996, so this was two years after the introduction.
  • AMY GOODMAN: Explain what a GMO is.

    PERCY SCHMEISER: Genetic modified organisms. And what that really means is that they took a gene from another life form, put it into canola, which made it resistant to Monsanto’s herbicide Roundup.

    AMY GOODMAN: And explain what canola is.

    PERCY SCHMEISER: Canola is—well, here—in most parts of the world, we call it rapeseed. But canola is an oil-based crop, and primarily it is used for making cooking oil. And the meal from it, after it’s pressed, is good animal feed, both for cattle and for pigs.

    AMY GOODMAN: And explain how it ended up on your property.

    PERCY SCHMEISER: My neighbor had grown it in 1997, and the following year it had true cross-pollination. But at that time, we believe it was primarily the contamination came from seeds blown in the wind, transportation by the farmer to the market, to his field, and from his field to his granaries.

    AMY GOODMAN: So, if you didn’t buy it and plant it, how could Monsanto sue you for using it?

    PERCY SCHMEISER: Well, they said that it does not matter how it gets into any farmer’s field, and they specified just what I said before—cross-pollination, seed movement and so on. And because they have a patent on one gene that makes that plant resistant—canola plant resistant to a chemical, then they—that they own the ownership. So it doesn’t matter how it gets to your field, for patent law. They can take the whole total farmer’s crop from him or make him destroy it. And in our case, my wife and I were seed developers in canola, which we had been doing for over fifty years, research in the development of disease control and so on. Even we lost all that research when the court ordered, through patent law, they own it.

    AMY GOODMAN: That Monsanto owned it.

    PERCY SCHMEISER: That Monsanto owns it.

    AMY GOODMAN: And how much did they fine you?

    PERCY SCHMEISER: Well, initially they wanted so-much-an-acre fine, but it ended up that they laid another lawsuit of $1 million against my wife and myself. And that also, we had to fight. And besides that, there was another lawsuit in the seven years before it went to the Supreme Court, where they tried to seize all our farmland. They tried to seize our whole—our farm equipment, so they could stop us, because we were using mortgages on our farmland to pay for our legal bills.

    AMY GOODMAN: And so, then explain what happened. You appealed this right to the Canadian Supreme Court? …

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