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.
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.
[Your Name Here]