Tag Archives | Monsanto

Supreme Court Says Monsanto Has ‘Control Over Product of Life’

weyland-yutaniT1Jacob Chamberlain writes at Common Dreams:

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Monday in favor of biotech giant Monsanto, ordering Indiana farmer Vernon Hugh Bowman, 75, to pay Monsanto more than $84,000 for patent infringement for using second generation Monsanto seeds purchased second hand—a ruling which will have broad implications for the ownership of ‘life’ and farmers’ rights in the future.

In the case, Bowman had purchased soybean seeds from a grain elevator—where seeds are cheaper than freshly engineered Monsanto GE (genetically engineered) seeds and typically used for animal feed rather than for crops. The sources of the seeds Bowman purchased were mixed and were not labeled. However, some were “Roundup Ready” patented Monsanto seeds.

The Supreme Court Justices, who gave Monsanto a warm reception from the start, ruled that Bowman had broken the law because he planted seeds which naturally yielded from the original patented seed products—Monsanto’s policies prohibit farmers from saving or reusing seeds from Monsanto born crops.

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Monsanto Threatens To Sue Vermont If It Passes GMO Labeling Bill

monsanto foodAre Monsanto and the state of Vermont headed for a historic showdown in court? Or are the corporation’s threats enough to make lawmakers scuttle plans for a law that the public is overwhelmingly demanding? Alternet writes:

Despite overwhelming public support, Vermont legislators are dragging their feet on a proposed GMO labeling bill. Why? Because Monsanto has threatened to sue the state if it passes.

What happened to the formerly staunch legislative champions of Vermont’s “right to know” bill? They lost their nerve after Monsanto representatives recently threatened that the biotech giant would sue Vermont if they pass the bill. [Officials] expressed concern about Vermont being the first state to pass a mandatory GMO labeling bill and then having to “go it alone” against Monsanto in court.

During the hearings the Vermont legislature was deluged with calls, letters, and e-mails urging passage of a GMO labeling bill – more than on any other bill since the fight over Civil Unions in 1999-2000.

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The Twelve Most Awful Products Made By Monsanto

saccharinVia GMO Awareness, it may seem cartoonish to brand one company as an evil empire reaping misery over the course of a century, but it’s hard not to when they have created artificial sugar substitutes, DDT, Agent Orange, nuclear weapons, PCBs, and Bovine Growth Hormone:

When you take a moment to reflect on the history of product development at Monsanto, what do you find? Here are twelve products that Monsanto has brought to market:

1. Saccharin. John Francisco Queeny founded Monsanto Chemical Works with the goal of producing saccharin for Coca-Cola. Studies performed during the early 1970s showed that saccharin caused cancer in test rats and mice.

2. PCBs. During the early 1920s, Monsanto began expanding their chemical production into polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) to produce coolant fluids for electrical transformers and motors. Fifty years later, the EPA published a report citing PCBs as the cause of cancer in animals, with additional evidence that they can cause cancer in humans.

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Robotic Bees to Pollinate Monsanto Crops

Maybe.  Russ McSpadden writes at Earth First! Newswire:

Pollinators participate in the sexual-reproduction of plants. When you eat an almond, beet, watermelon or sip on coffee, you’re partaking of an ancient relationship between pollinators and flowers. But since the 1990s, worldwide bee health has been in decline and most evidence points to toxic pesticides created by Shell and Bayer and the loss of genetic biodiversity due to the proliferation of GMO monocrops created in laboratories by biotech companies like Monsanto.

But never worry, those real life pollinators—the birds and the bees, as they say—may soon be irrelevant to the food needs of civilization. Harvard roboticists are developing a solution to the crisis: swarms of tiny robot bees made of titanium and plastic that can pollinate those vast dystopian fields of GMO cash crops.

The Harvard Microrobotics Lab has been working on its Micro Air Vehicles Project since early 2009. Borrowing from the biomechanics and social organization of bees, the team of researchers is undergoing the creation of tiny winged robots to fly from flower to flower, immune to the toxins dripping from petals, to spread pollen.

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Republican Roy Blunt Revealed As Senator Who Snuck ‘Monsanto Protection Act’ Into Spending Bill

How Monsanto wrote its fondest wishes into law. Mother Jones reveals:

A recent Senate bill came with a nice bonus for the GMO industry: a rider, wholly unrelated to the underlying bill, that compels the USDA to ignore federal court decisions that block the agency’s approvals of new GM crops. Such a provision is [very] important to Monsanto and its few peers in the GMO seed industry.

Which senator pushed the rider into the bill? No one stepped forward to claim credit. But since then, Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) has revealed to Politico that he’s the responsible party. Blunt even told reporteer David Rogers that he “worked with” Monsanto to craft the rider. The admission shines a light on Blunt’s ties to Monsanto, whose office is located in the senator’s home state.

Blunt’s connections to lobbyists extend to his family. His wife, Abigail Blunt, serves as head of US government affairs for the processed food giant Kraft.

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How To Keep Your Home Garden Monsanto-Free

Should you choose to create your own fruit or vegetable garden in your backyard or on your windowsill, how can you keep Monsanto from reaching its grubby fingers into your home? The corporate behemoth has gained control of 40% of the U.S. vegetable seed market by buying up smaller companies, and now owns the rights to the names themselves of many kinds of seeds. Thus these tips from Healthy Home Economist:

Avoid buying from the seed companies affiliated with Monsanto. Here’s a list of these seed companies: http://www.seminis.com/global/us/products/Pages/Home-Garden.aspx

Buy from this list of companies Monsanto HASN’T bought and are not affiliated or do business with Seminis: http://www.occupymonsanto360.org/2012/03/06/monsanto-free-seed-companies/

Avoid certain heirloom varieties because Monsanto now apparently owns the names. This article lists the seed varieties to avoid: http://www.occupymonsanto360.org/2012/03/17/monsanto-owned-seednames/

Ask seed companies if they have taken the Safe Seed Pledge. Here’s a list of companies that have done so: http://www.councilforresponsiblegenetics.org/ViewPage.aspx?pageId=261

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The Fox (Monsanto) Buys the Chicken Coop (Beeologics)

Merovingian BeeA couple of years ago disinformation‘s sister video label True Mind released the colony collapse disorder documentary Vanishing of the Bees. It was fairly obvious that the biggest (if not only) cause of the mysterious disappearing colonies of bees was widespread pesticide use in monoculture farming. Everyone’s favorite corporate criminal Monsanto is now causing conspiracy theorists to go into overdrive with their acquistition of a company specializing in bee medicine. Richard Schiffman sounds the alarm at Huffington Post:

Why would one of the largest purveyors of pesticides, genetically engineered seeds and agrochemicals want to buy a company which has been seeking solutions to the escalating threats to the world bee population?

Monsanto spokeswomen Kelly Powers says it is to give the fledgling company a helping hand. Beeologics has developed a product called Remembee, an anti-viral agent which its boosters claim will help stem the tide of Colony Collapse Disorder, a mysterious plague which has led to the disappearance of the bees in up to a third of the commercial colonies located in the U.S.

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Monsanto Likely to Score Supreme Court Win with Far-Reaching Benefits for Corporate Farming

Picture: Viriditas (CC)

Jill Richardson writes at AlterNet:

On Feb. 19, 2013, the Supreme Court heard yet another Monsanto case. (And yet again, Justice Clarence Thomas, former lawyer for Monsanto, did not recuse himself.) This time around, it was Monsanto vs. Vernon Hugh Bowman, an Indiana soybean and wheat farmer.

The issue in question is a familiar one for those who follow the issue of genetically engineered seeds. Each buyer of Monsanto’s patented seeds must sign a “Technology Agreement” and pay a technology fee. In the case of soybeans, soybeans themselves are seeds. A farmer who plants Monsanto’s patented soybean seeds will grow a crop of soybeans, which are themselves also seeds. The Technology Agreement prohibits the farmer from saving and replanting those seeds. It also forbids the buyer from doing research on Monsanto’s patented seeds.

In some cases, Monsanto licenses its genetically engineered seeds to other seed companies, like Pioneer (owned by DuPont).

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