GM Foods vs. Property Rights

Set aside arguments for or against the safety of genetically modified, or GM, foods. Consider their impact on property rights. I recently saw a report on how a farmer that collected his own seeds ran into trouble when a herbicide-resistant strain of canola started growing on his property. He couldn’t get rid of it with normal herbicides and sued Monsanto for the damages caused to his crops.

Monsanto counter-sued the farmer for growing its canola without a license. Monsanto won both of its cases. While the farmer is appealing the case, he’s outclassed in terms of what he can do legally. Other farmers that maintain their own seed banks have been sued by Monsanto when some of Monsanto’s species started to grow on their property. The farmers never intentionally planted the crops, but courts have nevertheless held them liable for violating Monsanto’s property rights.

This is a travesty. Leave the benefit or harm of GM crops aside: no amount of benefit could justify the way Monsanto is essentially polluting the countryside and then using that pollution to take down farmers not using its products. Simple laws that should keep plundering such as this from happening have been easily perverted by Monsanto’s legal teams. Yes, Monsanto’s got to make a profit to stay in business, but for it to destroy rights in the name of profits is inexcusable.

2 thoughts on “GM Foods vs. Property Rights

  1. Hanna Choi

    I think that this is really unfair. Yes, legally everything was correct, but the case is just so wrong. It was Monsanto’s “properties” that had in a sense intruding the farmer’s land. If a child had ran away from home and was living in your spare garage, stealing food while you weren’t and you never looked into or checked, the parent of that child should not be able to sue you (the owner of the garage) of kidnapping.

  2. Elizabeth Zhang

    I totally agree with Hanna, I mean the only reason Monsanto probably won was just because they had money so they hired expensive lawyers who knew what they were doing. That’s not fair plus they are already rich leave the farmers alone. What’s wrong with these people, they already have enough money and used this as an opportunity get even more?!

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