This audio was recorded at Lincoln University (23rd Oct '08) during Percys recent UK speaking tour.
Keep an eye on the GM Free Cymru website for details.
In 1997, Monsanto's genetically modified “Roundup Ready Canola” plants were found in Percy Schmeiser's field. In spring 1998, before Schmeiser planted his 1998 crop, he was informed that Monsanto believed that he had grown Roundup Ready canola in 1997. In the summer of 1998 the canola in Schmeiser's fields was found to be Roundup Ready canola. After this, Monsanto sued Schmeiser for patent infringement.
For the next several years, the case travelled through the Canadian court system. Meanwhile, Schmeiser became an international symbol and spokesperson for the movement against the genetic engineering of food. He accepted speaking engagements, and received donations for his defense fund, from around the world. Ultimately, a Supreme Court 5-4 ruling found in favor of Monsanto of their patent being valid and if there was infringement. Often misinterpreted, the decision was relatively limited.
The publicity around the case focused on whether Monsanto would be held responsible for “genetic engineering crop contamination”. This issue was, in explicit fact, not considered by the courts. The patent infringement finding was based solely on the determination that Schmeiser had recognized the cross-contamination, and knowingly went on to collect the crossbred seed, then replant and harvest it the next year. No punitive damages or the costs of the technology use fee were awarded to Monsanto, as the Supreme Court also ruled 9-0 in Schmeiser's favor that his profits were exactly the same with or without the presence of the Roundup Ready Canola.