Wednesday, March 23, 2005
( 10:24 AM )
In this era of "values" becoming foremost in our cultural discourse, it is interesting to me to note that our society continues to sink further into the bully method of relating to others. Of course, led by this government, our entire country is now securely esconced in the pattern of bullying other countries. Congressional members bully those who won't go along with the leadership. Interest groups bully voters through false and manipulative advertising. Kids bully and intimidate other kids. And while US corporations continue to gain more constitutional rights while US citizens lose them, the corporations lead the way in bullying. Among the best at this skill is Monsanto, the bio/genetic-engineering giant. Not only are several countries around the world trying their best to resist Monsanto's bullying, US Farmers find themselves falling victim to Monsanto's bullying.
The Center for Food Safety released a report about the American family farms that are now being pursued by Monsanto for using their seeds in non-contractual ways (like saving it and sowing it the next season).
In general, Monsanto’s efforts to prosecute farmers can be divided into three stages: investigations of farmers, out-of-court settlements, and litigation against farmers Monsanto believes are in breach of contract or engaged in patent infringement. Monsanto itself admits to aggressively investigating farmers it suspects of transgressions, and evidence suggests the numbers reach into the thousands. According to farmers interviewed by CFS, these thousands of investigations frequently lead to the second stage: Monsanto pressuring the farmer to settle out of court for an undisclosed sum and other terms agreed to in confidential settlements.
For some farmers, Monsanto’s investigation of them will lead to the courtroom. To date, Monsanto has filed 90 lawsuits against American farmers. The lawsuits involve 147 farmers and 39 small businesses or farm companies, and have been directed at farmers residing in half of the states in the U.S. The odds are clearly stacked against the farmer: Monsanto has an annual budget of $10 million dollars and a staff of 75 devoted solely to investigating and prosecuting farmers.
Some fun facts about Monsanto's stalking and bullying of farmers:
500: the number of US farmers under investigation annually by Monsanto
$15,253,602: the total recorded judgments granted to Monsanto for farmer lawsuits
$3,052,800: The largest recorded judment in favor of Monsanto as a result of a farmer lawsuit
8 months: the prison sentence given to a Tennessee farmer convicted of violating an agreement with Monsanto