Farmers defend their right to grow food: Appeal filed in family farmers vs. Monsanto case

Sunday, April 15, 2012 by: Ethan A. Huff, staff writer
Tags: farmers, Monsanto, lawsuits

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(NaturalNews) The plaintiffs in a case seeking protection from Monsanto's predatory patent lawsuits have filed a Notice of Appeal challenging the case's recent dismissal by Judge Naomi Buchwald of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. The Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association (OSGATA) and dozens of other food freedom advocacy groups and family farmers originally filed the suit on behalf of small growers everywhere in order to defend them against Monsanto's crusade of agricultural terrorism.

In case you are unaware, Monsanto has a nasty little history of suing farmers whose crops become inadvertently contaminated by the biotechnology giant's transgenic seeds and pollen. Between 1997 and 2010, in fact, Monsanto actually admits to having filed at least 144 lawsuits against farmers, and settled another 700 cases out of court, for so-called "patent infringement" involving non-genetically-modified (non-GMO) and organic crops that have become contaminated with GM materials and traits.

In one case, Monsanto targeted a 74-year-old seed cleaner named Mo Parr that the company claimed was infringing its patents. Though he vehemently denied the accusations, Parr ended up having his bank records subpoenaed, and his customers harassed. Monsanto eventually sued Parr for his supposed crimes, which did not exist, and actually won (

So as an act of solidarity for universal food freedom, OSGATA and the other plaintiffs filed a lawsuit against Monsanto back on March 29, 2011, aimed at protecting the hundreds of thousands of non-GMO and organic farmers in the U.S. from having their livelihoods destroyed by Monsanto's genetic trespass onto their property. And even though the case was recently dismissed by Judge Buchwald, OSGATA et al. are pressing on in this important fight for justice by filing an appeal.

"Farmers have the right to protect themselves from falsely being accused of patent infringement by Monsanto before they are contaminated by Monsanto's transgenic seed," said Dan Ravicher, Executive Director of the Public Patent Foundation, a non-profit legal services organization representing the plaintiffs in the case. "Judge Buchwald erred by denying plaintiffs that right and they have now initiated the process of having her decision reversed."

Monsanto is a threat to every non-GMO farmer in America

Judge Buchwald's misguided opinion that the case lacks merit, which is why she dismissed it, fails to recognize that every farmer who does not grow GM crops is at risk of being sued by Monsanto for patent infringement. The purpose of the lawsuit, of course, is to set a preliminary precedent that bars Monsanto from ever suing farmers whose non-GM crops become contaminated with GM traits, which is a perfectly reasonable approach to this ever-growing problem.

"These farmers have no desire to use Monsanto's GMO seeds, yet they are forced into the untenable position of losing their right to farm in the manner in which they choose, face legal intimidation and the loss of economic livelihood, all because America's legal system has failed to adequately protect them from the real threat of genetic trespass that is inherent as a result of Monsanto's patented GMO seeds and the natural biological functions of cross pollination from wind, insects or animals," said David Murphy, Founder and Executive Director of Food Democracy Now!.

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