Ban Monsanto’s Seed Patents in Europe

Target: Benoît Battistelli, President of the European Patent Council

Goal: End Monsanto’s seed patents in Europe to protect farmers’ livelihoods, as well as people’s health

Monsanto is a publicly traded multinational corporation that manufactures genetically modified food. In the past, it manufactured the deadly insecticide DDT and the chemical warfare defoliant Agent Orange, which is estimated to have killed or maimed over 1 million people. At present, Monsanto owns over 90% of patents on genetically engineered seeds, which means it more or less controls the mainstream food supply.

The vast majority of crops are genetically modified. In the United States, for example, this includes 88% of corn and 93% of soybeans. The process of genetic modification usually involves adding genetic material to a plant’s genome. This process is meant to make the crops more resistant to disease, but the genetic material that prevents disease can also include RNA that causes other diseases. A Chinese study found that people who ate genetically modified rice had RNA in their bodies that binds to human liver cells and absorbs cholesterol from the blood. RNA is also known to lead to cancer, Alzheimer’s, and diabetes.

Monsanto’s patent monopoly on crops makes it difficult for farmers to avoid buying them. For example, Monsanto sells its “Roundup Ready” soybeans under a contract that forbids farmers from saving the next-generation seeds and replanting them. When a farmer in Indiana used a variety of unmarked seeds from a grain elevator, some were found to be “Roundup Ready” seeds from Monsanto. Monsanto defeated him in an $84,000 lawsuit.

President Obama just passed a law forcing the Agriculture Department to approve Monsanto’s genetically modified crops. Monsanto has a strong hold in Europe too: it owns 36% of tomato, 32% of sweet pepper, and 49% of cauliflower varieties in the European Union. However, the European Patent Office is controlled by 38 countries that can ban patents on seeds by just one vote.

Urge the European Patent Council to outlaw Monsanto’s patents on seeds in the European Union. Then maybe other countries, such as the United States, will follow suit. Our health depends on it.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Mr. Battistelli,

Monsanto Corporation has a multinational monopoly over genetically modified foods. This means that farmers are having a difficult time using other seeds. Monsanto necessitates that farmers don’t save and replant next-generation seeds, so that they’ll have to keep buying Monsanto’s seeds every year. When a farmer used a variety of unmarked seeds from a grain elevator, some were found to be Monsanto’s and the corporation sued him for $84,000.

Genetically modified foods are also dangerous. The genetic material added to make crops more resistant to disease often carries RNA that can lead to other diseases such as cancer, Alzheimer’s, and diabetes. Here in the United States, the Monsanto corporation owns 90% of genetically modified crops, and 88% of corn and 93% of soybeans are genetically modified. In Europe, Monsanto owns 36% of tomato, 32% of sweet pepper, and 49% of cauliflower varieties.

The European Patent Council can vote to outlaw patents on food, which will end Monsanto’s stronghold in Europe. Hopefully, if you do this, it will encourage the United States and other countries to follow suit, leading to better economic futures for farmers and better health for people. Please vote to end Monsanto’s patents on food, and encourage the rest of the council to do the same. Thank you.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

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7 Comments

  1. Once again the anti-GMO, anti-scientific terror and fear machine revs up with bad information. The “Chinese study” cited is not for GMO. So if you are afraid of this stuff, stop eating. MicroRNA is in everything you eat. Here the author wants to connect it to diabetes and Alzheimers (though no link has been shown). This is an microRNA from rice. If you don’t want it, stop eating rice.

    Also, that study, while seemingly really interesting at the time, has not been repeated by other labs in 2 years. Parallel experiments have never been published, or follow ups from that group. That bothers me because such a huge finding should spawn a new area of science.

    • American multinational lobbying at its best. This is about Europe so why don’t you fuck off to where you belong and spread the word about the goods of Agent Orange, DDT and all the other fantastic Monsanto products there. You deserve Monsanto and their products.

  2. Wow, this article is scientific terrorism! Aside for my point above:

    1. Indiana farmer- He acquired seeds from an elevator and then used glyphosate (roundup) to select for those containing the beneficial gene. That’s stealing technology. Try making a million copies of software, music or art. You can’t take other people’s hard work.

    2. “President Obama just passed a law forcing the Agriculture Department to approve Monsanto’s genetically modified crops.” — No such thing, absolutely not. Nobody forces anything. It takes $5-20 million dollars and 5-10 years to get approval. The only forcing is from anti-GM interests that want to force their anti-scientific beliefs on others that prefer hard science as their guide.

    3. If you outlaw patents on food you’ll end plant breeding in Europe and they’ll just use U.S. and other varieties. My university has huge acreage of non-GMO but PATENTED plants growing in Europe. European plant breeders seek patents on their non-GMO materials so that others don’t just steal it and propagate it. It takes years and huge $$ to make a new variety. Ending plant patents will DESTROY plant variety improvement.

    So before you sign a petition, learn the science. Don’t make decisions based on fear and intellectual terrorism. Send me a note if you need more help with this difficult issue kfolta2@gmail.com

    • Hi,

      what about the other cases that got to court about Monsanto seeds that contaminated crops and then Monsanto sued the farmers that were completely unaware that he had seeds in his farm? Such is the case Monsanto Canada Inc vs Schmeiser? Moreover the Roundup herbicide it’s a common herbicide used by farmers since before Monsanto came up with the Roundup Ready gene so the fact that farmers use such herbicide doesn’t prove that they knew that they had resistant plants. What about the case where the technology agreement was never signed by a farmer so he saved seed and later on after Monsanto sued him the technology agreement appears with a forged signature?
      No question about the fact that if Monsanto and other corporations succeed the biodiversity is decreased. No questions that traditional techniques used by farmers such as saving seed and exchanging seed increase such biodiversity and also helped them to achieve better crops year after year. Now my question is: Why are corporations like Monsanto filing utility patents for plants when they could file a plant patent? The plant patent was created so that whoever created new plant varieties could have their intellectual rights protected but since it excluded sexually reproduced plants (seeds) another act was created in the US – the PVPA. The problem with this is it allows farmers to protect seed EXACTLY because when the PVPA was created they made sure that it would not allow a monopoly in seed and ultimately in the food. Well that is not good for corporations that want to get rich in a fast and greedy way without caring about the consequences. All companies, entities, people that develop a new plant variety can be protected and get profit for such invention. Filing for utility patent is greedy, is not just protecting their inventions, is pure greed.

      So the story may not be black and white as this letter portrays, but it isn’t also simple like you portray it. Just more food for thought.

    • Carolina says:

      Hi!!
      I signed this petition cos I simple do not believe in seeds patent. My grampa used to save the seeds to plant for the next crop every year. If this continue to be like this.. in the future I won’t be able to plant my own garden at least I pay a fee.

  3. Inge Bjorkman says:

    Please, no more poison on this earth

  4. George Wynne IV says:

    @ Kevin, you sound pretty informed on what Monsanto is doing, and put up a view point I haven’t seen. I go back and forth on this food info. Given the history of institutions that burry mistakes, imstead of learning from them, definitely raises concerns for me.

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