Saskatchewan farmer (Percy Schmeiser) sues Monsanto.
A court battle underway in Saskatchewan may have far-reaching ramifications for farmers and chemical manufacturers, both in Canada and beyond.
Percy Schmeiser is a canola farmer located about 80 km east of Saskatoon. For 40 years he has been saving seed for the following year's crop. He claims to have never purchased seed from Monsanto, although he does use its popular herbicide Roundup. But his land is now contaminated by Monsanto's herbicide-resistant -- and sterile -- Roundup Ready canola, produced by genetic engineering. Like other North American farmers, Monsanto took Schmeiser to court, claiming he illegally planted its canola without paying a $37-per-hectare fee for the privilege. Farmers buying Monsanto's seed must sign a contract promising to buy fresh seed every year. And they must let Monsanto inspect their fields.
But unlike the other farmers, many of whom have reached out-of-court settlements with Monsanto, Schmeiser has fought back with a $10 million lawsuit against Monsanto. He claims Monsanto investigators trespassed on his land -- and that company seed could easily have blown on to his soil from passing canola-laden trucks.
The case is now before the Federal Court of Canada and will likely go to trial next year. In August, mediation talks to settle the dispute without going to trial ended in failure.
A website has been constructed to keep interested people up-to-date on the Schmeiser case. And a fund has been created to help pay Schmeiser's legal bills.
Fight Genetically Altered Food Fund c/o CIBC 603 Main St. Humboldt SK SOK 2AO
Phone: (306) 682-2614
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|Date:||Nov 1, 1999|
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