Nothing in this blog can be believed. If you think that anything in this blog is true or factual, you'll need to verify it from another source. Do you understand? No? Then read it again, and repeat this process, until you understand that you cannot sue me for anything you read here. Also, having been sucked into taking part in the mass-murder of more than 3 million Vietnamese people on behalf of U.S. Big Business "interests", I'm as mad as a cut snake (and broke) so it might be a bit silly to try to sue me anyway...

Friday, August 19, 2005

and on the sixth day, Monsanto created the pig...

From the Greenpeace website:
A Greenpeace researcher who monitors patent applications, Christoph Then, uncovered the fact that Monsanto is seeking patents not only on methods of breeding, but on actual breeding herds of pigs as well as the offspring that result.

"If these patents are granted, Monsanto can legally prevent breeders and farmers from breeding pigs whose characteristics are described in the patent claims, or force them to pay royalties," says Then. "It's a first step toward the same kind of corporate control of an animal line that Monsanto is aggressively pursuing with various grain and vegetable lines."
View the whole article >>>

(Thanks go to Urban Fox for the tip-off.)


Blogger Deirdre said...

I'm a bit late to get here, sorry Gerry. Been very busy doing nothing, y'know ;)

Do companies only make applications for likely patenting successes or do they sometimes try their luck with frivolous applications? (Any idea?) It's hard to see how anyone could patent a living creature... and that's the part that worries me. Farmers have traditionally seen their livestock as possessions, so I suppose it's nothing new. But I was hoping we humans would eventually move towards a new way of thinking about other animals (including those on the farm) - not so much as assets, but as fellow living things. If we're soon going to be patenting them (... for God's sake... it sounds like a joke), will we go back to thinking of them ONLY in terms of their financial value? I'm guessing yes. That's horrifying. Fingers (& trotters) crossed it's not going to happen.

September 08, 2005 7:28 PM  
Blogger Gerry said...

Deirde, check this out >>> and this >>>.

September 08, 2005 8:25 PM  
Blogger Deirdre said...

Seed patents. I think those articles are putting an alarming spin on it - I can't check the laws they're talking about and wouldn't understand them anyway, but surely they will only cover specific varieties invented/developed/owned by the company, not ALL seed varieties. Unless the company now fiddles about with the traditional seeds, farmers couldn't be prosecuted for collecting and using them. How would it be financially worthwhile to prosecute small farmers anyway, I'm thinking - just the trouble of finding them makes it unlikely. But the most troubling possibility - as you suggested in your comment on the other post - is that traditional varieties might be sought out and bought up, and then taken out of the farmers' hands. But I suspect the companies are more interested in developing types that require further inputs of herbicide/pesticide later, so traditional varieties would have to be tinkered with a fair bit to fit the bill - probably leaving them out of danger (what I mean is, the invented version would need to be so different from the traditional seeds, the patent wouldn't cover the traditional ones).

Still, it's worrying. And it seems like such a big leap between patenting a seed and patenting a pig or any other animal (seems that way to me, anyway).

September 09, 2005 11:14 PM  
Blogger Deirdre said...

PS. Thanks for those links.

And I'm not saying those companies don't prosecute ANY farmers. I once saw a documentary about cases in the US (involving corn production, I think) where individual farmers faced legal action for reusing seed. Or something like that. I've forgotten the details. But I'm just guessing that the farming situation in Iraq might be different - smaller farming operations, say... though this is based entirely on prejudice and ignorance, so I should just shut up now.

September 09, 2005 11:19 PM  
Blogger Gerry said...

Deirdre, if you're sceptical of the mega-corporations' commitment to exploring every avenue of controlling and dominating (in this instance the production, marketing, distribution, wholesaling and retailing of food), then you have failed to understand capital's primary goal. Patents are very handy tools indeed in achieving the goal.

And then you've got Big Pharma, patents and the control of the health industry. Now you've got health and food covered.

Coca Cola and Pepsi are well on the way of controlling everything we drink (even water - e.g streams, rivers, springs, undergound, and even rainfall.) Yes, believe it!!!

A good capitalist would next examine the rest of Maslow's Hierarchy Of Needs and see where The Corporation might next spread its tentacles of control and dominance.

We'll make a good little Marketing Droid out of you yet, Deirdre... And if you don't come up with the results, we'll get someone who can and will!!! And at half the contracted cost too, so just watch yourself, y'hear me, girlie??

Or maybe you could have a brilliant career as a politician, talking up the joys of captitalism. But you'd better learn to use euphamisms like "free trade", "globalised economic interependence", "in our interests", "it's the economy, stupid".

Or maybe you'd like to become an economist, a master-propagandist of capitalism's evil march to slavery and oblivion.

(Please don't take my rants personally, Deirdre.)

September 13, 2005 2:41 PM  
Blogger Deirdre said...

Rant on, dearest :)

No question patents are handy tools, but what (apart from that article, which - in my opinion - might be somewhat biased) suggests that Monsanto will have patents covering ALL seeds in Iraq?

And what do you mean, Coca Cola and Pepsi now control rainfall?

September 13, 2005 10:09 PM  
Blogger Gerry said...

Deirdre, Read this >>> in particular the following: " rural Cochabamba, where people had traditionally considered ponds, lakes and other local sources of water the property of their communities"

What is that if not the corporate control of rainfall? Now I know that it was Bechtel (the huge american megacorp and not Coca Cola or Pepsi, but if you get the gist of this, you'll realise that, as I said, "they are well on the way"...

September 13, 2005 11:43 PM  
Blogger Gerry said...

Deirdre, about the prohibition of Iraqi farmers' seed saving habits,
read this >>>

When the full ramifications of Free Trade Agreements and the machinations of the WTO (World Trade Organisation) begin to dawn on the plebs it will all be too late, in this country, and in Iraq.

By the time you realise I'm not a paranoid nutter it'll be too late.

What really saddens me is that the average Australian (and boy, are they average) steadfastly refuses to educate him/herself about world affairs and how they may imapct on our future. They sense it might depress them and they'd rather be ignorantly happy than informed and worried. "Ignorance is bliss" is the Aussie motto I'm afraid.

I call it the Ostrich Syndrome.

[insert cartoon drawing of Ozzie Ostrich, head firmly buried in the sand, being anally penetrated, brutally, by GlobalCorp]

September 14, 2005 12:11 AM  
Blogger Deirdre said...

Boo. What was the point of the cartoon at the end? Do you think being gross helps foster a discussion?

The thing is, I think I understand what you're saying and I agree with the gist of it. What bothers me is just that you might be using sources that are questionable and evidence which looks more like opinion. (The picture caption in that latest Iraq article - "Becoming Monsanto customers at the barrel of a US gun" - is so biased, it makes me dismiss the whole text. Why should I believe what they're saying, just because they say it forcefully?)

It's none of my business how you present an argument, obviously, but if you're interested, here's my point: you've only got to be shot down on one or two mistakes or omissions of fact and your whole argument looks dodgy, when in fact what you're saying is correct overall. It just gives ammunition to people who'd oppose you. And as we all know, they probably have enough ammunition already.

The Cochabamba water story is shocking, yes. It doesn't mean corporate control of rainfall though. You'll say I'm just being picky. Yes, that's true. That's my point. You're trying to make an argument about corporate control of one of the fundamental needs of life - water - and instead of this being the issue discussed, I'm giving you trouble about the meaning of "rainfall". Do you see what I mean? (And I don't mean that I'm a pain in the arse, but that would be true :) Sorry.)

September 14, 2005 10:10 PM  
Blogger Gerry said...

Deirdre, I love it when you take me to task. It's good. I wish more people bothered to do it.

The cartoon: It was supposed to be art. and it was meant to illustrate a point. I didn't think you'd take offence.

About the links/articles. You'll have to make your own mind up. I don't have the time to track down the best or most "credible" ones. Nor am I even remotely trying to run an "authoritative" blog.

I just voice my opinions, sometimes I provide quotes or links, but at the end of the day, as it says in the disclaimer at the top of the blog: "Nothing in this blog can be believed. If you think that anything in this blog is true or factual, you'll need to verify it from another source." If people take an interest in an opinion or idea that I've put forward, it's then up to them to do their own research.

If you're looking for a blog where, if you read it you can believe it, then this blog certainly does not claim to be one fo those...

Cochabamba? Wait till a Coca Cola / Amatyl rep visits your farm and tells you that they now own the water rights to the water in your dams and you'll get it about Cochabamba.

If you want more about the global bunfights surrounding water, go here and then follow the links. there are lots of them. And after you've done that, then get back to me if you still think it's all just a beat-up.

Go girl!!! :-)

September 14, 2005 10:44 PM  
Blogger Deirdre said...

Thanks for not taking offence, d - I was really only commenting on your writing style after all, which in hindsight was
(a) rude, and
(b) pretty stupid.
Damn. Can't help myself...

Found some links about the seed patent situation:

The original GRAIN/Focus on the Global South article was updated in Feb 2005 with a clarification:
The law does not prohibit Iraqi farmers from using or saving "traditional" seeds. It prohibits them from reusing seeds of "new" plant varieties registered under the law - in practical terms, this means they cannot save those seeds for re-use.

There's a PDF file of the Coalition Provisional Authority Order Number 81 here, in case anyone wants to tackle it.

And this blog post discusses Monsanto's agreements with farmers, and includes some good links (including the two above).

And in local news, we DON'T actually own the water in dams here. I don't know who does (it's a public/govt body, not a corporate one) but I'm pretty sure farmers have to pay licences to use the contents of the dam, even if it lies entirely within their property boundary and is filled with rainwater which fell only on their farm, and the entire cost of constructing the said dam was their own responsibility. (Don't quote me - I can't remember the details.)

I know you're not talking about a beat-up, and bless you for talking at all. These issues are real and threatening, and the facts themselves are alarming enough.

Onward, comrade.

September 14, 2005 11:20 PM  
Blogger Gerry said...

Deirdre, how could I take offence? You were absolutely spot-on in your critique of my blogging style.

It's just that I don't have the academic skills, the patience, or the mental stability necessary to do a better job. I leave all of that to the big boys and girls. I'm happy just to be a catalyst of sorts...

Thanks for the links, I'll look them up and get back to you here.

September 14, 2005 11:29 PM  

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