Monsanto is a force to be reckoned with. Unfortunately, the potency of the force has met little resistance. This was most noted last Monday, when the Supreme Court decided to dismiss a lawsuit against Monsanto that would thwart the company from suing farmers whose fields had unintentionally been contaminated by its genetically modified seed.
The lawsuit was filed in 2011 by the Organic Seed Growers Association, the Trade Association and over 80 other accusers. The plaintiffs attempted to gain protection from the agrochemical company’s pugnacious patents on the genetically modified seed. None of the accusers desired to use the biotech seeds, nor had any certified licensing agreement with company in the past. Many of the farmers were organic farmers or non-GMO farmers, meaning many of the plaintiffs genuinely did not want the genetically modified seed in their crops. In particular, the farmers attempted to obtain protection under the Declaratory Judgment Act. The Act would foil Monsanto from suing farmers for patent infringement if the seed happened to cross contaminate with other farmers crops.
The original intent of Monsanto’s genetically modified seeds and Roundup Herbicide was to grow crops tall in height but short on weeds. Toiling with nature made Monsanto equivalent to “an unstoppable force that met an immovable object.” In particular, the Roundup Herbicide fueled the evolutionary arms race. The Roundup herbicide extirpated weaker weeds and allowed weeds resistant to the pesticide to flourish. Rather than breeding crops short of weeds, Monsanto bred a species just short of being dubbed a “super weed.” A provocative study published in the Environmental Science Reports, reported that the use of pesticides has increased approximately seven percent since genetically modified organisms were first used on crops in 1996 up to 2011. To put this into perspective, that is roughly 404 million extra pounds of pesticides being drenched on U.S. crops within a time frame of fifteen years.
Farmers hoping to escape the grip of Monsanto’s seed patent had a mild victory in a June 2013 when the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit located in Washington, D.C., admitted that cross contamination of Monsanto’s seed was inevitable. Nevertheless, the plaintiffs were not put at ease. The ruling also declared that Monsanto has promised not to sue farmers whose crops contain trace amounts of the genetically modified seed. In this case, however, “trace” was taking to mean less than one-percent.
The tyranny of Monsanto once again went unchallenged last Monday, when the Monsanto lawsuit was dismissed by the US Supreme Court. The Supreme Court’s decision to dismiss the case was primarily based on the grounds that Monsanto promises to not sue farmers whose crops contain trace amount of its seed. Yet Monsanto’s history reveals this to be anything but the case. Monsanto has a record for filing over 140 lawsuits against farmers for using the company’s product without permission, and settled approximately 700 cases without suing as well.
So long as Monsanto has a monopoly on crops, its Tyranny on local farmers will prevail. The Supreme Courts decision to dismiss the lawsuit against Monsanto is an act of injustice against the American farmer and cannot be tolerated.
By Nathan Cranford