Monsanto and other biotech giants reportedly are attempting to thwart the natural order by patenting conventional fruit and vegetable plants derived from conventional breeding in Europe.
Loopholes in the European patent laws may allow for Monsanto, Syngenta and other biotech corporate agriculture businesses to own the rights to vegetables and fruits which already exist organically in nature through breeding, according to Avaaz, a human rights advocacy organization.
The activist group also maintains that Monsanto is utilizing the European Patent Office application process to file for the rights to patent all-natural seeds for tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, melons and cucumbers. Note: These are not GMO seed patent requests but requests for patents on common everyday convention seeds derived from convention breeding.
Unless the countries which are governed by the governmental office take action, the massive corporation could soon garner even more control over the world’s food supply.
An excerpt from an Avaaz online petition says the patent, if successful, would force “growers to pay them for seed and risk being sued if they don’t.” It further reads:
We can stop them from buying up Mother Earth. Companies like Monsanto have found loopholes in European law to have exclusive rights over conventional seeds, so we just need to close them shut before they set a dangerous global precedent. And to do that, we need key countries like Germany, France and the Netherlands — where opposition is already growing — to call for a vote to stop Monsanto’s greedy plans. The Avaaz community has shifted governments before, and we can do it again.
The Avaaz circulated petition has been signed by more than 2 million people and shared on Facebook by more than 600,000. The petition implores the Administrative Council of the European Patent Organization to amend patent laws to close the loopholes which would pave the way for corporate control of naturally growing vegetables and fruits.
An excerpt from a statement by the No Patents on Seeds group reads:
Since the year 2000, there have been more and more patents granted on plants and animals derived from conventional breeding. Presently, there are around 100 such patents on plants, and around 1,000 applications have been filed.
Opposition to the patent requests is reportedly growing in France, the Netherlands and Germany. A No Patents on Seeds report states that the European Patent Office in Munich already granted a conventional breeding patent to Seminis, a Monsanto-owned company. The patent given to the biotech company reportedly covers the plants, severed broccoli heads, seeds and the plurality of broccoli plants grown in the field. The Monsanto patent pertains to broccoli derived from conventional breeding processes.
Christoph Then, a No Patents On Seeds representative, had this to say about the Monsanto plant patent requests:
We are calling for broad support of our opposition against the patent on ‘severed broccoli.’ We intend to send a clear signal that we will not let our food be monopolized.
Americans might like to believe that a patent grab on naturally growing plants could not ever happen in America. But the May Supreme Court ruling against an Indiana soybean farmer causes one to wonder how loophole-free the patents laws are in the United States.
Monsanto attorneys had this to say during the seed patent dispute:
Without reasonable license restrictions prohibiting the replanting of second- and later-generation soybeans, Monsanto’s ability to protect its patented technology would effectively be lost as soon as the first generation of the product was introduced into the market.