by Steffan Browning
Organic farmers are hitting back at biotech by taking to the courts.
In Western Australia, organic farmer Steve Marsh has taken his neighbouring farmer to court for contaminating of Steve’s crops with GE canola, leading him to lose his organic certification.
The Pastoralists and Graziers Association said about the case that the organic certifiers are at fault for having a zero tolerance for GE canola. They say that farms that use GE seeds “operate in nature” and so shouldn’t be expected to contain their GE crops from contaminating neighbouring fields. We’ve been saying for a long time that contamination would occur. It is interesting to note the GE proponents’ change in language from “GE won’t contaminate” 10 years ago, to now saying “contamination is inevitable”.
On the other side of the world, a group representing 4,500 farms is fighting a legal battle against Monsanto to protect themselves from being sued if their crops are contaminated by Monsanto’s loose GE seeds.
They say that every year Monsanto investigates over 500 farmers for patent infringement and so far 144 farmers have had lawsuits brought against them while another 700 farmers have had to settle out of court and pay up.
Keep an eye out for the GE tour that we are planning to bring some of these inspiring farmers to New Zealand to share their stories and discuss how we can protect New Zealand organic farmers from these kinds of assaults.