Monsanto, the world’s largest manufacturer of GMO seeds, has taken legal action against hundreds of farmers when the wind carries their patented seeds into organic farms, treating the farmers as though they had illegally stolen and planted the seeds without payment.
The trade group is petitioning the court to prevent the company from suing association members for patent infringement if its GMO plants are found on its members’ farms.
Organic famers aren’t the only ones taking legal action against GMOs. Last year, three environmental groups filed suit to block the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from planting GMO crops, resulting in the agency ending the practice in its 12-state northeast region.
Monsanto’s shareholders rejected a proposed study of the environmental, financial, and legal risks of the company’s GMO seeds. The study would have examined the impact of “genetic drift” on farmers’ organic crops, and how contamination from Monsanto seeds can prohibit sale of their seeds to markets in Europe, China, and Japan. Harrington Investments CEO John Harrington, who brought the proposal forward, expressed concern about the legal implications for Monsanto as well as the environmental and economic impact of GMOs.
Monsanto recommended their shareholders defeat the proposal, claiming that they have already studied the issue extensively and an additional report would be redundant. The vast majority of shareholders voted against it, then went on to approve executive pay and bonus plans.