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Biotech bullies threaten farmer and consumer rights

(Aug. 27, 2001 – CropChoice opinion) – The following is a press release from SayNoTo GMOs.org.

WHEN: OCTOBER 10, 7:00 - 9:00 PM

Genetically engineered crops have invaded the food supply from the farm to the grocery shelf. Many farmers don't want to grow the stuff and a majority of consumers would like to avoid these unlabeled, untested products. Just how is the biotech industry ensuring that before long we won't have a choice?

It all starts down on the farm. Canadian canola farmer Percy Schmeiser and North Dakota soybean farmer Rodney Nelson are coming to Austin on October 10 to talk about their continuing legal battles with Monsanto.

You can read about their stories in detail at:

Patent or intellectual property rights are the sledgehammer that biotech corporations are using to monopolize world food and fiber production. Monsanto is using the courts to prosecute and harass hundreds of farmers for alleged patent infringement. But the Schmeiser case is the first to reach a decision. The Canadian judge’s conclusion was that it didn't make any difference how Monsanto’s patented genes got to Percy’s land. Percy is still liable. This decision sets a precedent that will influence other court decisions and invite possible WTO intervention. An interesting coercive tactic currently being offered by Monsanto is to drop charges if farmers will agree to plant their patented genetically modified seeds!

This is a chilling wake-up call that farmers and the consumers who rely on their harvest are in deep trouble. This story began over 50 years ago with the rise of chemical/industrial agriculture. Now the chemical industry is betting its future on biotech/chemical/industrial agriculture. So in addition to toxic chemicals, the environment and food supply are now being subjected to artificial genetic alteration that is disrupting the natural genetic evolution of life on this planet.

The biotech industry is working hard to perpetuate myths that genetic manipulation of the natural world for profit is necessary for the future of agriculture and the solution to feeding the world. An August 14 report estimates that over $12 million dollars have been spent so far this year on pro-biotech TV propaganda in the US alone! Just how many starving people could $12 million feed? Obviously, feeding the world is not foremost on their agenda. Nor is reduced chemical use as many biotech crops are reliant on the use of herbicides and seeds may soon require patented chemicals to trigger plant development.

Join us October 10 to hear first hand how the biotech industry is designing the future of your food, the price farmers are paying and what it means for the consumers’ right-to-choose in the marketplace.

Jim Hightower’s opening comments will set the tone for this eye-opening event. Fred Walters, editor and publisher of ACRES USA, will host and moderate. For more information go to www.saynotogmos.org.