"In a related situation, Canadian soybean farmer Stephen Webster of Ontario experienced just how abusively Monsanto treats innocent contamination victims.
"Through no fault of his own, Webster, who farms with his elderly father, had his 2012 identify-preserved (IP) non-GMO soybean crop contaminated by Monsanto's patented genetically engineered seed. Their soybeans were ruined for export to specialty markets in Japan.- Advertisement -
"'First Monsanto claimed we had too many bees and that we were at fault for the contaminated crop,' said Webster. 'Then they threatened to run up $100,000 in legal bills that we would have to pay.'
"Tragically, Webster's story is the norm in farm country, with Monsanto using its extreme economic power to silence family farmers even before they can legally defend themselves.
"Unwanted GMO seed has cost farmers $2 billion
"Notably, none of the plaintiffs are customers of Monsanto. None have signed licensing agreements with Monsanto. The plaintiffs do not want Monsanto's seed and they do not want Monsanto's gene-spliced technology and have sought legal protection from significant economic harm to their businesses and way of life.- Advertisement -
"'We have a fourth generation farm,' said organic dairy farmer and plaintiff Rose Marie Burroughs of California Cloverleaf Farms.
"'Monsanto cannot be trusted. Their refusal to provide a binding legal covenant not to sue our fellow farmers would make anyone wonder, what are their real motives? GMO contamination levels can easily rise above 1% and then we would have zero protection from a costly and burdensome lawsuit.'
"Significant contamination events, including Starlink corn and LibertyLink rice, have already cost farmers and the food companies nearly $2 billion.
"In the past year alone, the discovery of Monsanto's illegal GMO wheat in an Oregon farmer's field and GMO alfalfa in Washington state sent foreign markets, where GMOs are not wanted, reeling. In both instances farmers' economic livelihoods were put at risk as buyers in foreign markets refused to buy the GMO contaminated crops.
"Dave Murphy, founder and executive director of Food Democracy Now!, a grassroots advocacy group based in Iowa and a plaintiff in the case, said:
"'If Monsanto can patent seeds for financial gain, they should be forced to pay for contaminating a farmer's field, not be allowed to sue them. Once again, America's farmers have been denied justice, while Monsanto's reign of intimidation is allowed to continue in rural America.- Advertisement -
"'Monsanto has effectively gotten away with stealing the world's seed heritage and abusing farmers for the flawed nature of their patented seed technology. This is an outrage of historic proportions and will not stand.'"
Meanwhile, has Chris Christie's bridge blunder opened the Presidential door to Jeb Bush?