About Percy Schmeiser
 
Percy Schmeiser, a farmer and seed developer from Canada, has become the worldwide symbol for the resistance to the brutal methods employed by the multinational seed producer Monsanto to bully and control farmers.

What happened?

Schmeiser's neighbors planted genetically engineered canola (rapeseed). During the harvest in the autumn, the wind blew seed over the boundaries. Some of the harvest fell off the harvesting machinery and trucks and landed in the ditches and at the edges of fields. The following year this genetically modified seed germinated on Schmeiser's fields, a low percentage of his crop was contaminated with these genetically engineered plants.

Monsanto did what it has done thousand's of times the world over: it takes samples from farmers that do not buy seed from it, verifies contamination, alleges the independent farmers are planting illegal Monsanto seed and therefore infringing Monsanto's patent rights. The farmer is then offered a deal: Monsanto will drop its demands for the payment of damages if in future the farmer buys the genetically modified seed, waives the right make any claims for damages against Monsanto at any time in the future, and undertakes never to talk about the deal in public. If the farmer does not accept, he faces a court appearance for the patent infringement.

What does a farmer feel like when such a threat flutters through the letter box? He is alone on his farm, has to feed himself and his family, and may be frightened to talk about the matter with his neighbors. The farmer gives in and thinks: it won't be so bad.

But not Percy Schmeiser. He did not want the unsuitable genetically modified seed; he also did not see why he should have to pay damages to Monsanto. After all, Monsanto seed had contaminated his harvest and destroyed his decades of development work - in other words his intellectual property. Monsanto should pay him damages.

And so began the long journey through the courts to the highest instance under Canadian law.   ... more

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To Percy Schmeisers website
 
Alternative Nobel Prize 2007 for Percy Schmeiser
Speech on the acceptance of the Alternative Nobel Prize 2007
See speech
 
Right Livelihood Award (Website click Logo)