martes, enero 18, 2005

January 13, 2005

Contact: Craig Culp, (202) 547-9359, or (301) 509-0925 (mobile)

First-of-its-Kind Analysis Reveals Thousands of Monsanto Investigations, Nearly 100 Lawsuits and Numerous Bankruptcies

Toll-Free Hotline Established for Farmers Facing Lawsuits or Threats from Monsanto to Get Guidance and Referrals

WASHINGTON - The Center for Food Safety released today an extensive review of Monsanto's use and abuse of U.S. patent law to control the usage of staple crop seeds by U.S. farmers. The Center (CFS) launched its investigation to determine the extent to which American farmers have been impacted by litigation arising from the use of patented genetically engineered crops. Monsanto vs. U.S. Farmers details the results of this research, discusses the ramifications for the future of farming in the U.S. and outlines policy options for ending the persecution of America's farmers.

"These lawsuits and settlements are nothing less than corporate extortion of American farmers," said Andrew Kimbrell executive Director of CFS. "Monsanto is polluting American farms with its genetically engineered crops, not properly informing farmers about these altered seeds, and then profiting from its own irresponsibility and negligence by suing innocent farmers. We are committed to stopping this corporate persecution of our farmers in its tracks."

"Monsanto would like nothing more than to be the sole source for staple crop seeds in this country and around the world," said Joseph Mendelson, CFS legal director. "And it will aggressively overturn centuries-old farming practices and drive its own clients out of business through lawsuits to achieve this goal."

Farmers even have been sued after their fields were contaminated by pollen or seed from a previous year's crop has sprouted, or "volunteered," in fields planted with non-genetically engineered varieties the following year; and when they never signed Monsanto's Technology Agreement but still planted the patented crop seed. In all of these cases, because of the way patent law has been applied, farmers are technically liable. It does not appear to matter if the use was unwitting or if a contract was never signed.

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