The Classic David vs Goliath Struggle.....
The following excerpts from various newspaper articles bring to light some of the concerns that property owners might want to consider.
Excerpt from April 28, 1999 Saskatoon Star Phoenix article by Leslie Perreaux
"Agrochemical giant Monsanto Co. has admitted its investigators went onto a Bruno farmer's land without permission to collect evidence against him."
"Monsanto admitted during recent secret court discovery testimony that it hired a Saskatoon private investigations company, founded by former RCMP officers, to go onto Percy Schmeiser's land and obtain canola samples.
The company also secretly obtained some of Schmeiser's seed from Humboldt Flour Mills, where Schmeiser was having his seed cleaned, according to documents filed this week in Federal Court."
"According to the court documents, Monsanto offered discounts to Humboldt Flour Mills in return for providing samples from targeted farmers. Humboldt Flour Mills officials couldn't be reached for comment Tuesday."
Excerpt from May 6, 1999 Western Producer article by Adrian Ewins
"The motion to dismiss the case states that Monsanto has admitted in court it has no evidence of anyone providing Roundup Ready seed to Schmeiser. However, Ray Mowling (President of Monsanto) said the issue of where the seed came from is not crucial.
"Our case is built on the fact that he knowingly used our seed and planted it," he said. "Where he got the seed is interesting but not a critical factor."
Excerpts from May2,1999 Washington Post article by Rick Weiss
"But while the vast majority of farmers approached by Monsanto have paid fines and agreed to allow the company to inspect their fields for years to come, Schmeiser last year became something of a folk hero in Canada by fighting back against the multinational giant. He has gained support of environmental groups and others around the world who oppose corporate restrictions on seed saving, which many subsistence farmers depend upon for survival."
"In testimony filed with the Federal Court of Canada -- part of Zakreski's motion to dismiss the case -- a Monsanto Representative reports that private investigators hired by the company in 1997 trespassed on Schmeiser's property to snip plant samples for DNA testing.
Moreover, according to documents and interviews, a Monsanto representative approached an employee of the Humboldt Flour Mill, where Schmeiser brought his harvested seed for cleaning, and asked for a sample of his harvest for DNA testing. The mill's manager at the time, Gary Pappenpoot, complied after checking with his boss -- a decision, he said Friday, he now regrets."
"Philip Angell, Monsanto's director of corporate communications, disputed the allegations against the company. Despite the sworn testimony, he said, it is still not completely clear that the investigators in 1997 actually crossed Schmeiser's property line. Even if they did, he said, trespassing is neither a criminal nor a civil offense in Saskatchewan --a legal interpretation Zakreski (Schmeiser's attorney) disputes.
Angell also said -- and Pappenpoot confirmed -- that the Humboldt mill routinely saved samples of farmer's seeds in case questions arose later about contamination or mix-ups. Angell said Monsanto attorneys were now trying to determine whether those saved samples technically still belonged to Schmeiser or to the mill, which would then have the right to share them with anyone it chose to."
Excerpt from Aug 14, 1999 Saskatoon Star Phoenix article by Leslie Perreaux
"Zakreski said the company's position in the lawsuit has frightening implications for farmers.
He noted the company has dropped its allegation that Schmeiser stole the seed. He said the company is now pursuing Schmeiser for simply using the seed, purposely or not.
"I don't think anyone who finds this innocently on their land should be responsible to Monsanto," he said.
"They seem to want to put the responsibility for identifying the DNA of crops on the farmer. That, if you think about, is very frightening."
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