Originally published October 15 2010
Why patents on seeds and animals result in monopolistic control over the entire food chain
by Jonathan Benson, staff writer
(NaturalNews) When mankind is permitted to steal from nature and claim it as their own, only disaster awaits. And that is exactly what is happening around the world with crop seeds and animals, as biotechnology companies slice and dice genetic characteristics from natural sources and create new, patented plants and animals. The end result is total control of the entire food supply by a few wealthy companies.
A recent report in The Ecologist highlights a visual graphic created by Philip Howard, an assistant professor at Michigan State University, that illustrates how five biotechnology giants -- Monsanto, Syngenta, Bayer, Dow, and DuPont -- have purchased hundreds of smaller seed companies over the years and essentially taken over the seed industry. The graphic can be accessed here: https://www.msu.edu/~howardp/seedindustry.pdf
Farmers who wish to purchase seeds that have not been genetically-modified (GM) are having an increasingly difficult time finding alternatives because most of the seed companies are now either partially or fully owned by one of the big five, which means such companies now carry mostly GM varieties. Unlike natural seeds, GM seeds are patented and can only be planted once, which means farmers have to purchase them every year or buy a license to plant them.
Such a system is "incompatible" with renewable agricultural practices, explained Howard in a report, and it is leading to total control of the food supply by a few multinational corporations. Patents also eliminate diversity in seed variety, end experimentation by farmers in seed crossbreeding (which is different from genetically modifying them), and raise seed prices for everyone by creating a seed monopoly.
Howard believes the only answer to the problem is to ban the practice of allowing patents in agriculture. In fact, a consortium of 400 scientists from around the world agree that patents are destroying agriculture and must be stopped if any sort of sustainable agriculture is to continue.
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