Must Watch: Documentary ‘David vs. Monsanto’

Must Watch: Documentary ‘David vs. Monsanto’

Nov 03


Movie Trailer


Complete Documentary


Released August 7, 2009
Journeyman Pictures

Original Link

Imagine that a storm blows across your garden and that now, genetically-manipulated seeds are in your crops. A multi-national corporation pay you a visit, demand that you surrender your crops — and then sue you for $200,000 for the illegal use of patented, GM seeds. In this definitive David and Goliath battle, one farmer stands up against a massive multinational, and their right to claim ownership to a living organism.

“We knew by checking license plates that Monsanto or people hired by Monsanto, were watching us constantly”, says Percy Schmeiser. When the court ruled in Monsanto’s favour, Percy counter-sued Monsanto for environmental pollution, seed destruction and slander. With the crop he had worked on for 50 years officially ‘owned’ by Monsanto, Percy launched a nationwide campaign defending farmer’s rights. Monsanto did everything they could to stand in his way. “Monsanto is big”, came a voice down a telephone one night, “you can’t win. We will get you. You will pay”.

Percy doesn’t use Monsanto’s popular herbicide ‘Roundup’. “People have to ask themselves what are they really eating?” Percy asks of an outraged auditorium, “Monsanto said agent orange was safe, are we now to believe them when they say that ‘Roundup’ is safe?” Percy had no use for the canola seed Monsanto developed to resist ‘Roundup’. Yet the court ruled that even if Monsanto’s seed is in a crop by cross-pollination, they own the entire crop as a result of their patent. GMO’s bring less yield than natural seeds and increasingly toxic food. “The people don’t want GMO’s, they don’t want toxic foods”, Percy declares, “but there is no coexistence between GMO and non-GMO- it’s just a matter of time before it’s all GMO”.

Monsanto have brought fines from $20,000 to $100,000 against several farmers, completely unaware that Monsanto’s canola seed is mixed with their own. “The way the court system in America works is that whoever piles the most money on one side of the balance wins”, says Troy. He lost his case against Monsanto after coming up with $400,000 in legal fees. Monsanto gives out leather jackets to farmers who inform on other farmers who they suspect of using the Monsanto seeds. It’s a way of eliminating competitors and something, which Percy’s wife believes has changed the farming industry for good. “No one trusts anyone anymore”, she sighs.

Percy appeals the supreme court decision. Whilst they find that the presence of Monsanto seeds in his field does infringe the patent, without exercising the patent by spraying ‘Roundup’ on his field, Percy is not liable to pay $200,000 in fines. “Today is a personal victory”, Percy says with tears in his eyes, “6 years of personal struggle — we fought for the rights of farmers to plant their seed from year to year. We never thought it would come this far”.

But the court also ruled that Monsanto own the entire plant as a result of placing a gene in it. “The supreme court will have to revisit this judgement”, Percy explains undeterred. “their decision means that a corporation can control anything they put their genes into or anything they put their patents on”. “We have more questions than answers now”, Percy continues, “who owns life?’ The definitive documentary on our increasingly genetically modified world.


November 3, 2012

Original Link


Monsanto has long been trying to establish control over the seeds of the plants that produce food for the world. They have patented a number of genetically altered food crops, which can only be grown with proper license, and the seeds for which must be purchased anew each year.

Alas, genetically engineered (GE) crops cannot be contained. And rather than being found guilty of contaminating farmers’ property, Monsanto has successfully sued hundreds of unsuspecting farmers for patent infringement when unlicensed GE crops were found growing in their fields. Many farmers have subsequently, quite literally, lost their farms.

Percy Schmeiser of Saskatchewan, Canada, is but one of Monsanto’s victims, but contrary to so many others, he refused to quietly tolerate the injustice. In a classic case of David versus Goliath, Schmeiser fought back against one of the most powerful businesses in the world.

It all began in 1998, at which time Schmeiser had grown canola on his farm for 40 years. Like any other traditional farmer, he used his own seeds, saved from the previous harvest.

But, like hundreds of other North American farmers, Schmeiser ended up being sued by Monsanto for ‘patent infringement’ when more than 320 hectares were found to be contaminated with Roundup Ready canola — the biotech giant’s patented canola, genetically engineered to tolerate otherwise lethal doses of glyphosate.

The company sought damages totaling $400,000. Most farmers end up settling, but Schmeiser was angry enough to fight back, and countersued Monsanto for:

• Libel, by publicly accusing him of committing illegal acts

• Trespassing

• Improperly obtaining samples of his seed from a local seed plant

• Callous disregard for the environment by introducing genetically modified crops without proper controls and containment

• Contamination of his crops with unwanted GE plants

The case eventually went before the Federal Court of Canada, and after a decade-long battle, Schmeiser won when, in March 2008, Monsanto settled out of court, agreeing to pay for all cleanup costs. The agreement also specified that Schmeiser would not be under gag-order, and that Monsanto can be sued for recontamination. This landmark case is now featured in the documentary film “David versus Monsanto”…



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