Wednesday, February 1, 2012
Landmark Lawsuit against Monsanto gets day in court
February 01, 2012
On Jan. 31, a Federal District Court judge agreed to hear oral arguments for a landmark lawsuit - Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association (OSGATA) et al. v. Monsanto.
Monsanto filed a pre-trial motion to dismiss the case in July - this hearing will determine whether the case can move forward.
It was standing room only as family farmers from around North America filled the New York City courtroom.
Over 300,000 people are represented by 83 plaintiffs from 36 organizations in the case against Monsanto.
The lawsuit seeks to invalidate Monsanto’s patents on genetically modified (GMO) seeds and to prohibit the company from suing those whose crops become genetically contaminated because they drift through the air.
Monsanto has created a culture of fear in the rural community by aggressively pursuing lawsuits against farmers for “genetic trespassing.”
Dozens of farmers have been driven into bankruptcy and many organic and non-GMO farmers are now afraid to plant seeds.
Wouldn’t it make more sense if organic farmers could sue Monsanto for contaminating their crops with their GMO seed?
The suit points to studies citing harm caused by Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide, including human placental damage, lymphoma, myeloma, and other impacts on human health.
Plaintiffs also condemn Monsanto for preventing independent research on its transgenic seeds and for its successful lobbying efforts to ban GMO food labeling.
It also confronts Monsanto’s propaganda that transgenic seeds improve yield and reduce pesticide use, when research shows the opposite is true. In fact, using GMOs is resulting in the emergence of resistant super-weeds.
“Thus, since the harm of transgenic seed is known, and the promises of transgenic seed’s benefits are false, transgenic seed is not useful for society,” say the plantiffs.
The Federal District Court judge will make a decision on whether the case can move forward by March 31st.
Should the court agree that transgenic seeds fail the test of patent law, the suit could potentially reverse patent approval on all biotech seeds, impacting BASF, Bayer, DuPont, Dow, and Syngenta, and others.
Occupy Wall Street Food Justice, Occupy Big Food and Food Democracy Now! assembled at NYC’s Foley Square to support farmers on the front lines of the struggle against corporate domination of the nation’s food system.
They held a Citizen’s Assembly, depicting Monsanto’s infamous 100 year history including Agent Orange, Dioxin, PCBs and now GMO food. Speakers addressed topics ranging from sustainable agriculture to risks associated with GMOs to issues of food justice.
Meanwhile, a former Monsanto lobbyist, Michael Taylor, serves as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) food safety czar!