“During last week’s oral testimonies before the United States Supreme Court, a 75-year-old soybean farmer from Indiana faced down Monsanto, as he challenged the biotech giant’s aggressive and frequently criticised pursuit of patent infringement cases.
According to court reports, the panel of judges was less than amenable to farmer Vernon Hugh Bowman’s argument that the purview of Monsanto’s patent ends once its seeds have yielded their first generation of a crop.
Monsanto sees it differently, arguing that it must be able to prevent farmers from using seeds obtained from subsequent generations of plants.
That the Supreme Court would resist Bowman’s argument should come as no surprise. After all it was the Supreme Court that, in 1985, granted seed companies the right to limit farmers’ ability to save the seeds the companies had patented.
Chief Justice John Roberts Jr impressed upon the court his predisposition toward the case when he asked the following question: …”
“With his mere 300 acres of soybeans, corn and wheat, Vernon Hugh Bowman said, “I’m not even big enough to be called a farmer.”
Yet the 75-year-old farmer from southwestern Indiana will face off Tuesday against the world’s largest seed company, Monsanto, in a Supreme Court case that could have a huge impact on the future of genetically modified crops, and also affect other fields from medical research to software.
At stake in Mr. Bowman’s case is whether patents on seeds — or other things that can self-replicate — extend beyond the first generation of the products.
Polluted America: GMO Manmade Biological Threats, Plant Diseases, Germ Warfare
On January 17, 2011, Dr. Don Huber outlined the dangers of approving Roundup Ready alfalfa in a letter to Secretary of Agriculture Vilsack. Huber requested that approval be delayed until independent research could evaluate the risks. Vilsack ignored the letter and accommodated Monsanto’s desire for monopoly profits that come from the company’s drive to control the seed supply of US and world agriculture by approving Roundup Ready alfalfa.
Who is Don Huber, and why is his letter important?
Huber is professor emeritus at Purdue University. He has been a plant pathologist and soil microbiologist for a half century. He has an international reputation as a leading authority. In the US military, he evaluated natural and manmade biological threats, such as germ warfare and disease outbreaks and retired with the rank of Colonel. For the USDA he coordinates the Emergent Diseases and Pathogens Committee. In other words, he is high up in his scientific profession.
You can read online what Huber told the Secretary of Agriculture. Briefly, the outcome of many years of Roundup Ready GMO corn and soybeans has been a decline in nutritional value, the outbreak of new plant diseases resulting in widespread crop failures, and severe reproductive problems in livestock, with some herds having a spontaneous abortion rate that is too high to maintain a profitable business.
Glyphosate is a powerful biocide. It harms beneficial soil organisms, altering the natural balance in the soil and reducing the disease resistance of crops, thus unleashing diseases that devastate corn, soybean, and wheat crops, and giving rise to a new pathogen associated with premature animal aging and infertility. These developments, Huber told the Agriculture Secretary, “are threatening the economic viability of both crop and animal producers.” The evidence seems to be real that genetically modified crops have lost their genetic resistance to diseases that never previously were threats.
There is evidence that the new pathogen is related to a rise in human infertility and is likely having adverse effects on human health of which we are still uninformed. Like fluoride, glyphosate might enter our diet in a variety of ways. For example, the label on a bottle of Vitamin D says, “Other ingredients: soybean oil, corn oil.”
Monsanto disputes Huber’s claims and got support for its position from the agricultural extension services of Iowa State and Ohio State universities. However, the question is whether these are independently funded services or corporate supported, and there is always the element of professional rivalry, especially for funding, which comes mainly from agribusiness….”