Rachel's Democracy & Health News #837  [Printer-friendly version]
January 12, 2006


[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)

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

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.