Rachel's Democracy & Health News #837 [Printer-friendly version] January 12, 2006 ERRORS, ERRORS... MONSANTO AND PERCY SCHMEISER [Rachel's introduction: First we numbered last weeks' issue #837 when it was really #836. Then we confused our readers by saying Percy Schmeiser owed Monsanto damages for having Monsanto's patented genes in his field. This is not quite correct.] By Peter Montague Last week, I mistakenly numbered Rachel's News #836 (dated January 5, 2006) as #837, which confused even me. That is why this week's Rachel's News (dated January 12, 2006) is numbered (correctly) #837. In other words, last week's issue was actually #836 (dated January 5, 2006). You can find the correctly numbered issue #836 (dated January 5, 2006) here. Now for the more serious error. In Rachel's #836 (dated January 5, 2006), I said the Canadian Supreme Court required farmer Percy Schmeiser to pay damages to Monsanto Corporation because its patented genetically engineered genes canola plants were found in his fields. Monsanto says he put them there himself. Schmeiser says the genetically modified organisms were carried into his fields on the wind. It does not matter how the GMOs got into Schmeiser's fields because the Canadian Supreme Court decided that Monsanto owns any plants that contain their patented genes, no matter where they may be found or how they got there. Percy Schmeiser does not owe Monsanto damages, but Monsanto now owns Percy Schmeisers's crops, until he pulls up and discards each of the plants that contain Monsanto's patented genes. So the upshot is, as "gene flow" and pollen blowing on the wind carry patented genes across the globe, Monsanto, Dow and Novartis will be in a position to claim rights to any and all plants that contain their patented genes. At least, that's the precedent set by the Supreme Court of Canada.