Listen to a true ready made Halloween horror story about a David vs Goliath type struggle.
October 31, 2002 10:33 PM   Subscribe

Listen to a true ready made Halloween horror story about a David vs Goliath type struggle. On her October 24th show Caroline Casey creator of the VisionaryActivism Radio show interviewed Percy Schmeiser a canola farmer from Saskatchewan Canada whose organic Canola fields were genetically contaminated with Monsanto's Round-Up Ready Canola. Schmeiser a 40 year organic canola seed saver is in the fight of his life against the powerful Monsanto corporation. This powerful interview should make you cry and provoke you to clean your pantry and refrigerator and rethink food choices like I did.
posted by thedailygrowl (17 comments total)
In this corner, in the canola trunks, with a record of 0 wins and 2 losses -- both by knockout -- the challenger: Percy Schmeiser!

And, in the genetically-modified trunks, weighing in at $165 million in net losses for the 3Q, the Monsanto corporation!
posted by Ljubljana at 11:35 PM on October 31, 2002

Why do I presuppose that this interview will neither make me cry nor rethink my food choices? I guess I just don't like being told how I should feel.
posted by turbodog at 12:07 AM on November 1, 2002

It is indeed an interesting story. It made me think.

It didn't make me cry or rethink my food choices. I guess I'm just an unfeeling cynic.
posted by mmoncur at 12:11 AM on November 1, 2002

I don't buy it. Live from It's a big place.
posted by lightweight at 12:38 AM on November 1, 2002

This was previously discussed when the court made it's initial decision in March of 2001.

Links to the relevant Federal Court of Canada documents: the original decision, the costs, the rejected appeal.

I don't believe Mr. Schmeiser ever claimed to be an organic farmer. During the case he admitted to previously using Monsanto's herbicides.
posted by Monk at 12:51 AM on November 1, 2002

I have to say when Caroline Casey quoted from Lord of the Rings in the introduction with no sense of irony I could listen no more. I'm sorry, I am sure there are some very important issues going on here but all the astrological nonsense on her web site convinced that this is not a forum for rational argument.
posted by rolo at 2:17 AM on November 1, 2002

I have never been especially concerned by the GMO debate (which is a big issue in Europe), nor had I known very much about Monsanto until about four years ago. While working on a completely unrelated matter, I stumbled across a paper on the possible impacts on biodiversity of the 'Terminator' seeds they were trying to launch at that time. I was stunned - these seeds, and Monsanto's complete lack of corporate ethics disguised by 'we'll feed the world'-type platitudes, represented to me a frightening level of utter arrogance and greed. By any standards, their marketing strategies are exceptionally nasty. I did a quick google on this, and was amazed by the number and range of sites (such as this, this, this , this and this, among hundreds of others) that deal with Monsanto's paucity of ethics.

The thing is, Monsanto aren't generally a subject of concern to Joe Public in the West, because the people who are most likely to suffer in the long-run from their technologies are farmers in developing countries. Monsanto aren't the only ones developing and marketing GM technologies, but they are by far the most aggressive and rapacious.
posted by Doozer at 3:38 AM on November 1, 2002

Would it be possible to institute something like the GNU license for genetic codes?
posted by eustacescrubb at 3:50 AM on November 1, 2002

institute something like the GNU license for genetic codes?
its fucking ludicrous to allow patents on genetic codes. its life, and nobody living now invented it. you might as well allow people to patent rocks and sticks and owls. hell, they probably already are. the corporate world has gone mad with greed. meanwhile i've got a wonderful invention - see, theres this "creator" entity which causes "prophet" entities to appear amongst us in various places at various times... the royalties from the three major religions which have been violating my pending patent for thousands upon thousands of years are going to make for a very comfortable life for me and my descendants. fuck monsanto, and just for good measure, george bush too. haaaaave a nice weeeekend... i'm going up into the national forest to enjoy Mother Monsanto™.
posted by quonsar at 4:31 AM on November 1, 2002

The Creator Entity/Quonsar gets my vote for president!!! (shite, wrong country)
posted by Doozer at 4:43 AM on November 1, 2002

you might as well allow people to patent rocks and sticks and owls.
funny you should say that...

Oh, and this isn't a patent, but it is from the uk patent office...
posted by twine42 at 6:00 AM on November 1, 2002

Haven't read the linked article yet, but I just wanted to say that whenever someone tells me that something "should make me cry" it makes me more determined than ever to be a heartless unfeeling bastard. I go to read the article now, prepared by thedailygrowl to hate Percy Schmeiser.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 6:49 AM on November 1, 2002

I think the great dividing line will eventually be (legally), that all lifeform variants artificially endowed, except primates, may be patented. To parse:

1) Lifeform variants may include those derived from cross-breeding, selective breeding and extra species genetic manipulation.

2) It does *not* include "spillover", manipulated or natural gene xfer to other lifeforms or second generation loss. This would be extrapolated from 'Maverick' (unbranded calf) law. So if you make a new type of genetic thing, you had better not let it stray, or it becomes public domain.

3) Since 'man' and chimpanzee share about 98% of their DNA, a large discriminator of what is prohibited has to be used. This would be the "no original primate material mixed with anything else" law. The DNA unique to primates is also hands off for ownership *or* recombination with other species DNA, under *criminal* penalty.

4) Now for the fun part. Liability. If you genetically create a patentable lifeform, you are absolutely 100% liable for *anything* bad that it does. If it spreads its genes to other lifeforms, you have to pay for it. If it spreads disease, you have to pay for it. And, if the government assesses the risks involved as moderate or high, you have to *insure* your patent against damage to others--so no corporate weaseling out of responsibility.
posted by kablam at 6:58 AM on November 1, 2002

Thanks, Doozer, for those links. Particularly the Guardian story about the PR firm that does damage control for Monsanto on the Internet. Fascinating stuff.
posted by George_Spiggott at 7:58 AM on November 1, 2002

So if I invent...say... a killer blob that eats New York, I could be looking at some hefty fines, eh?
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 8:09 AM on November 1, 2002

So if I invent...say... a killer blob that eats New York, I could be looking at some hefty fines, eh?

That depends on your campaign contributions.
posted by pitchblende at 8:47 AM on November 1, 2002

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