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238,393 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Centuries of tradition are now being legislated out of farmers' hands, thanks to good ol' Monsanto. Maybe if enough of them catch on, they'll stop buying their seed from them. Unfortunately, since Monsanto is also one of the world's biggest producers of pesticides / insecticides, regular farmers (i.e. those who don't grow organic food) will also eventually feel pressure from Monsanto.

1,108 Posts
while i absolutely loathe monsanto, i don't feel that the issue of licensing is so simple tsila. the company genetically engineers these seeds and should certainly be able to sell them as they see fit. it's much akin to microsoft and people illegally using their software, in my opinion. while i wish that these farmers would choose not to use the seeds from monsanto, they have no right to go against their contract and save the seeds.

ideally, i'd love if we moved away from making food and crops into commodities. the idea of local food markets in these poorer countries where you know who grew your food, how they grew it, etc. is very appealing to me. i realize the benefits of commodities, especially in a free market capitalist system, but that doesn't mean i have to like it

70 Posts
It comes down to this fact: We allow life forms to be patented.

This new step in globalization, allows complete corpoarate control of the food supply.

Life forms are not software, life forms are not machines or consumer goods.

In the pursuit of pure capitalism, greed has reached it's zenith.

The fundamental assumption that it is acceptable to patent life forms is flawed.

Om, Peace, Amen


238,393 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Originally posted by stonecrest

while i absolutely loathe monsanto, i don't feel that the issue of licensing is so simple tsila. the company genetically engineers these seeds and should certainly be able to sell them as they see fit. it's much akin to microsoft and people illegally using their software, in my opinion. while i wish that these farmers would choose not to use the seeds from monsanto, they have no right to go against their contract and save the seeds.

In a legal sense, I agree. I didn't imply that the issue of licensing is in any way simple. I actually took a Philosophy of Technology course last term because half of it focused specifically on the issues surrounding genetically engineered foods; it was fascinating. I also took an Ethics of Consumption course that examined things from the side of the consumer (everything from environmental issues to social concerns surrounding consumerism). There are all kinds of things tied into this and we could write hundreds of threads about it and still not cover everything. I agree that a contract is a contract, but it still doesn't change the fact that it's disgusting that one company can alter centuries of tradition using misinformation (i.e. lies) and bullying.

That being said, I think that although there are elements common to Microsoft and Monsanto's business practices, they're essentially apples and oranges. I've company coming, so I can't get into my understanding of it right now, but I'd like to come back and post about it some more tomorrow. Mae-Wan Ho and Vandana Shiva have written a lot of good stuff about social / environmental issues surrounding genetically engineered foods and current business practices of companies like Monsanto.

70 Posts
If the seeds were not patentable, if they were generic, the no re-planting clause would not hold up legally.

And I say:

1.) That the seeds should not be patentable as the genetic material - DNA was not invented by man. It is not an original creation by Monsanto. These genes existed way before Monsanto was ever born. Normally to patent something it must be original.

I don't know of any person or group of persons that can create a single gene or for that matter a whole life form from scratch.

This is an aberration.

2.) Life is sacred

The paradigm is turned on its head.

Where do you see apples and oranges?

238,393 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Where do I see apples and oranges? Exactly where you see 'em.

You wrote in a previous post:

Life forms are not software, life forms are not machines or consumer goods.

This is part of what I meant when I said that Microsoft and Monsanto are like apples and oranges, in that they are two completely different issues. Microsoft isn't screwing with the world's food supply; Monsanto is. The ethical implications of what Monsanto is doing on a global scale far outweighs anything that Microsoft is doing.

Either you misunderstood my post or I misunderstood your own. I think that we're in the same general camp.

13,309 Posts
I think Monsanto is "company of the devil".

Keeping seeds to sow next year is a normal thing.

A farmer buys seeds to produce something. The produce is his. He should be able to do with the crop what he wants.

What's next ? I buy a printer and HP get's copyright on everything I print ?

6,927 Posts
Actually, having to buy seeds every year is keeping inline with the way things are going; disposable.

What was God thinking when he made plants create seeds? Thankfully Humankind came along and, as always, we know better. Praise Science.

I suppose one day we could see animals genetically engineered to be unable to breed, and farmers having to buy fresh stock of animals from companies who clone them and raise them (and while they're at it, GE the animals so they can only survive on foods grown from seeds provided by the GMO companies).

70 Posts
Monsanto Sends Seed-Saving Farmer to Prison

From Agribusiness Examiner #246

May 12, 2003

By <[email protected]net>




PETER SHINKLE, ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH: A farmer opposed to Monsanto Co.'s

genetic seed licensing practices was sentenced pMay 7] in federal court at

St. Louis to eight months in prison for lying about a truckload of cotton

seed he hid for a friend.

Kem Ralph, 47, of Covington, Tenn., also admitted burning a truckload of

seed, in defiance of a court order, to keep Monsanto from using it as

evidence in a lawsuit against him.

The prison term for conspiracy to commit fraud is believed to be the first

criminal prosecution linked to Monsanto's crackdown on farmers it claims are

violating agreements on use of the genetically modified seeds.

Ralph pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court on February 21 of lying in a

sworn statement in the civil case.

At issue is seed-saving, the age-old agricultural practice of keeping seed

from one crop to plant another. Monsanto's licensing agreement forbids it, a

policy that has drawn bitter opposition from some farmers.

In court Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Richard Webber ordered Ralph to

serve the prison time and to repay Monsanto $165,649 for about 41 tons of

genetically engineered cotton and soybean seed he was found to have saved in

violation of the agreement.

Monsanto says it has filed 73 civil lawsuits against farmers in the past

five years over this issue.

Officials of the company, based in Creve Coeur, hoped that Ralph's case

would send a stern message. Monsanto has distributed information about it

and about the civil litigation as a warning.

Before Ralph's sentencing Wednesday, a Monsanto official told Judge Webber

that other farmers would closely watch the outcome.

"Their behavior will be set according to the results here today," said Scott

Baucum, an intellectual property protection manager for Monsanto.

The ruddy-faced Ralph appeared in court in blue jeans and a plaid shirt. He

made no comment during or after the hearing. His attorneys have asked him to

hold his peace because his civil case with Monsanto --- in which he has

already been ordered to pay more than $1.7 million to the

agribusiness giant --- is still not over.

But Ralph has been outspoken about his feelings. He said in a deposition in

2000 that opposition to Monsanto led to his decision to burn the bags of


"Me and my brother talked about how rotten and lowdown Monsanto is. We're

tired of being pushed around by Monsanto," he said then. "We are being

pushed around and drug down a road like a bunch of dogs. And we decided we'd

burn them."

Monsanto's new seeds have won widespread acceptance among American farmers.

An example is genetically modified soybean seeds, which are designed to work

with Monsanto's herbicide Roundup.

The seeds, which won government approval in 1994, are expected to account

for 80% of the 73 million acres of soybeans planted in 2002 and 2003, the

Department of Agriculture says.

Monsanto and its supporters say its fees are justified so the company can

recoup costs and pay for future research.

Farmers who refuse to pay the fees obtain an unfair advantage over others,

Monsanto says.

Some critics contend that the company's pricing is excessive and too tough

on farmers.

"Farmers were always able to compete by saving seed. It's really a question

of the corporate profit - that's what's being protected. If you can't save

seed, you've got to buy it," said Lou Leonatti, an attorney from Mexico,

Missouri, who represents Ralph in his civil case.

People from Tipton County, near Ralph's home, wrote to tell Judge Webber

that farmers there had suffered some hard years.

Paul D'Agrossa, attorney for Ralph in the criminal case, argued for

probation so his client could continue to work the soil and support his

teenage son.

But Webber, who explained that he had saved seed on the family farm where he

grew up, said he could not ignore Ralph's efforts to conceal evidence.

"I'm not interested in making an example of Mr. Ralph. At the same time, I

can't turn a blind eye to his conduct," the judge said.

Taking note of the planting season, Webber said he would not require the

farmer to report to prison before July 1.

70 Posts

A martyr is born, Monsanto has made a mistake. Make this an international incident. Free Kem Ralph, farmer, he burned seeds he purchased from Monsanto, now he is going to prison for his action of conscience.

News story: Farmer sentenced to prison

Join "The Committee to Free Kem Ralph".

In France there is Jose Bove, a farmer against globalization, he has gone to prison. Look him up in your search engine.

Call, write and fax the Missouri State Legislature and Senate, the Govenor of Missouri. Where is Amnesty International when you need them? Write, phone and e-mail Missouri's representatives, senators and govener now!

Just send this message

" Free Kem Ralph a prisoner of conscience, defeat Monsanto"

Copy and paste this message to all affiliated geen, environmental

and health organizations.

Govenor Bob Holden

Governor's Office In Jefferson City

Missouri Capitol Building, Room 216

PO Box 720

Jefferson City, MO 65102-0720

Telephone: (573) 751-3222

FAX: (573) 751-1495

Email: [email protected]

Governor's Office In Washington D.C.

400 North Capitol Street, NW

Suite 376

Washington, DC 20001

Telephone: (202) 624-7720

FAX: (202) 624-5855

E-mail the Agribusiness Examiner

publisher of this article [email protected]

Senator Matt Battle

Capitol Address: State Capitol Building

Room 434, Jefferson City, Missouri 65101

Capitol Phone: (573) 751-1464 Office Staff: Marie Colvin

Capitol Fax: (573) 751-8442

Senator Mary Bland

Capitol Address: State Capitol Building

District Address: 1734 E. 63rd, Suite 448

Room 334 Kansas City, MO 64110

Jefferson City, Missouri 65101

Capitol Phone: (573) 751-2770 District Phone: (816) 444-1347

Capitol Fax: (573) 526-7849 District Fax: (816) 926-1064

Office Staff: Debra Belcher

Vernon Thompson

Seantor Joan Bray

Capitol Address: State Capitol Building

Room 329, Jefferson City, Missouri 65101

Capitol Phone: (573) 751-2514 Office Staff: Jackie Rost

Capitol Fax: (573) 526-2612 Kristy Manning

Senator Harold L. Caskey

Home Address: P.O. Box 45 Butler, Missouri 64730

Capitol Address: State Capitol Building Room 320

Jefferson City, Missouri 65101

Capitol Phone: (573) 751-4116 Office Staff: Ronda Griggs

Capitol Fax: (573) 751-9751 Kim Green

Senator Maida Coleman

Capitol Phone: (573) 751-2606 Office Staff: Paula Savage

Capitol Fax: (573) 751-7638 Billie A. Boykins

District Office Address: 3305 Olive Blvd.

St. Louis, MO 63103

District Office Phone: (314) 535-5999

Home Address: PO Box 771425 St. Louis, MO 63177

Capitol Address: State Capitol Building Room 328

Jefferson City, Missouri 65101

Senator Rita Days

Capitol Address: State Capitol Building

Room 421 Jefferson City, Missouri 65101

Capitol Phone: (573) 751-4106 Office Staff: Bernadine Klebba

Capitol Fax: (573) 751-0467 Lillian A. Brook

Party/ Capitol

Senator District Office Capitol Phone

Matt Bartle R-8 434 (573)751-1464

Mary Bland D-9 334 (573)751-2770

Joan Bray D-24 329 (573)751-2514

Harold L. Caskey D-31 320 (573)751-4116

John Cauthorn R-18 426 (573)751-6858

Norma Champion R-30 220 (573)751-2583

Doyle Childers R-29 225 (573)751-2058

Dan Clemens R-20 418 (573)751-4008

Maida Coleman D-5 328 (573)751-2606

Rita Heard Days D-14 421 (573)751-4106

Ronnie DePasco D-11 321 (573)751-3074

Jon Dolan R-2 428 (573)751-4964

Pat Dougherty D-4 330 (573)751-3599

Bill Foster R-25 423 (573)751-3859

Michael Gibbons R-15 221 (573)751-2853

Wayne Goode D-13 333 (573)751-2420

John Griesheimer R-26 226 (573)751-3678

Charles Gross R-23 227 (573)751-8635

Ken Jacob D-19 420 (573)751-2131

Harry Kennedy D-3 425 (573)751-2126

Peter Kinder R-27 326 (573)751-2455

David Klindt R-12 331 (573)751-1415

John Loudon R-7 332 (573)751-9763

James L. Mathewson D-21 319 (573)751-4771

Gary Nodler R-32 433 (573)751-2306

Edward E. Quick D-17 331A (573)751-4524

John T. Russell R-33 416 (573)751-4166

Delbert Scott R-28 431 (573)751-8793

Charles Shields R-34 419 (573)751-9476

Sarah Steelman R-16 422 (573)751-4068

Steve Stoll D-22 429 (573)751-1492

Carl Vogel R-6 219 (573)751-2076

Charles Wheeler D-10 425 (573)751-2788

Anita Yeckel R-1 323 (573)751-2887

Senator Ronnie DePasco

Home Address: 2917 Grand Kansas City, Missouri 64108

Capitol Address: State Capitol Building Room 321

Jefferson City, Missouri 65101

Capitol Phone: (573) 751-3074 Office Staff: Linda Burnett

Capitol Fax: (573) 751-2745

Missouri House of Representatives Missouri State Senators

"Free Kem Ralph now a prisoner of conscience!, defeat Monsanto"
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