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Percy and Louise Schmeiser are awarded the 2007 "Right Livelihood" award.


timouse
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Percy and Louise Schmeiser (Canada) have given the world a wake-up call about the dangers to farmers and biodiversity everywhere from the growing dominance and market aggression of companies engaged in the genetic engineering of crops. The Jury honours the Schmeisers “for their courage in defending biodiversity and farmers’ rights, and challenging the environmental and moral perversity of current interpretations of patent laws."

full story.

the background story is on Percy's website.

Percy Schmeiser

A long time farmer and farm equipment dealer from the small rural community of Bruno Sask. He served as Mayor of the Town of Bruno from 1966-1983 and as a MLA (Member of the Legislative Assembly) for the Watrous constituency in the Provincial Legislature from 1967-71.

Excerpt from Aug 14, 1999 Vancouver Sun article by Dave Margoshes

"Percy Schmeiser was mad as hell, and decided he wasn't going to take it.

Schmeiser has been growing canola -- the yellow-blossomed oilseed that used to be known as rapeseed -- for 40 years, and he knows his stuff. He's been experimenting, developing his own varieties, using his own seed and generally prospering with canola. reaping the benefits derived from growing an increasingly popular crop.

So when Monsanto, the giant multinational agro-chemical company that is at the forefront of developing genetically modified foods, accused him of patent infringement and demanded restitution for its seeds, his pride was hurt. He chose to fight rather than roll over and take it."

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I watched a French Canadian NFB documentary on the Organics movement and GMOs: Pas de pays sans paysans (The Fight for True Farming) and it touched on Percy's story.

In my mind, if science can make a "better" tomato, one that is pest and drought resistant, etc. then thats fine (as long as its fruit is studied for side effects, etc) I tried to grow a couple of heirloom varieties that turned out pretty bad compared to my modern store bought ones this summer (though the store boughts were traditionally cross-bred not genetically modified).

I mean we will have to start to make better use of our land to grow food as our population ballons in the next 50 years, and if technology will help us in that regard, then all the better.

However, "terminator" technology should be outlawed... just to much potential for disaster and it provides no benefit to anyone, other than the companies themselves.

Also, if we allow agribusiness to patent a seed and then charge farmers a fee to use the improved seed, as well as not allowing them to reuse it, something they’ve done traditionally, it just propagates a cycle of paying and more paying to these big multi-nationals. Basically the farmers are “renting†the seed for a year. They don’t own it. Its this model of business that alot of content providers are going to, and it really scares me. Imagine not being able to “buy†a book, instead having to pay a fee every time you read it. Think its outrageous? Think again. Ever here of DRM on music files? How about an old format called DIVX that came out around the same time as DVDs? Software is already so restricted if you actually follow the EULA...

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