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Tell Monsanto What You Think of Their Patent for Their Latest Invention: The Pig

Aug. 3, 2005

Monsanto files patent for new invention: the pig

As the article below explains, Monsanto has filed several patents on
breeding herds of pigs!

This is only the latest attempt by Monsanto to monopolize a food source.
Where patents have been granted to Monsanto, the corporation has sought to
aggressively police their "rights".

TELL MONSANTO TO STOP PATENTING LIFE

Let Monsanto CEO Hugh Grant (no relation to the actor who plays a sleazy
corporate executive in Bridget Jones' Diary) and the board of Monsanto
know
you don't want them patenting your food.
http://www.greenpeace.org/no-pig-patent

Click below to send a link to a delightful pig image + this message as an
E-card to your friends and associates: "The Earth is flat, pigs were
invented by Monsanto, and genetically modified organisms are safe. Right."
http://www.greenpeace.org/international/photosvideos/photos/the-earth-is-fla
t-pigs-were-i

Click below to send a link to an image of Monsanto's President + this
message as an E-card: "MONSANTO: NO FOOD SHALL BE GROWN THAT WE DON'T OWN"
http://act.greenpeace.org/ecs/s2?i=1835&sk=std&la=en
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Monsanto files patent for new invention: the pig

Greenpeace researcher uncovers chilling patent plans

Brian Thomas Fitzgerald

02 August 2005

It's official. Monsanto Corporation is out to own the world's food supply,
the dangers of genetic engineering and reduced biodiversity
notwithstanding,
as they pig-headedly set about hog-tying farmers with their monopoly
plans.
We've discovered chilling new evidence of this in recent patents that seek
to establish ownership rights over pigs and their offspring.

In the crop department, Monsanto is well on their way to dictating what
consumers will eat, what farmers will grow, and how much Monsanto will get
paid for seeds. In some cases those seeds are designed not to reproduce
sowable offspring.
http://www.greenpeace.org/international/news/suicide-seeds

In others, a flock of lawyers stand ready to swoop down on farmers who
illegally, or even unknowingly, end up with Monsanto's private property
growing in their fields.
http://www.greenpeace.org/international/news/monsanto-wins-right-to-pollute

One way or another, Monsanto wants to make sure no food is grown that they
don't own -- and the record shows they don't care if it's safe for the
environment or not. Monsanto has aggressively set out to bulldoze
environmental concerns about its genetically engineered (GE) seeds at
every
regulatory level.

So why stop in the field? Not content to own the pesticide and the
herbicide
and the crop, they've made a move on the barnyard by filing two patents
which would make the corporate giant the sole owner of that famous
Monsanto
invention: the pig.

The Monsanto Pig (Patent pending)

The patent applications were published in February 2005 at the World
Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) in Geneva. 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."

There are more than 160 countries and territories mentioned where the
patent
is sought including Europe, the Russian Federation, Asia (India, China,
Philippines) America (USA, Brazil, Mexico), Australia and New Zealand.
WIPO
itself can only receive applications, not grant patents. The applications
are forwarded to regional patent offices.

The patents are based on simple procedures, but are incredibly broad in
their claims.

In one application (WO 2005/015989 to be precise) Monsanto is describing
very general methods of crossbreeding and selection, using artificial
insemination and other breeding methods which are already in use. The
main
"invention" is nothing more than a particular combination of these
elements
designed to speed up the breeding cycle for selected traits, in order to
make the animals more commercially profitable. (Monsanto chirps gleefully
about lower fat content and higher nutritional value. But we've looked and
we couldn't find any "Philanthropic altruism" line item in their annual
reports, despite the fact that it's an omnipresent factor in their
advertising.)

According to Then, "I couldn't belive this. I've been reviewing patents
for
10 years and I had to read this three times. Monsanto isn't just seeking
a
patent for the method, they are seeking a patent on the actual pigs which
are bred from this method. It's an astoundingly broad and dangerous
claim."

Good breeding always shows

Take patent application WO 2005/017204. This refers to pigs in which a
certain gene sequence related to faster growth is detected. This is a
variation on a natural occurring sequence -- Monsanto didn't invent it.

It was first identified in mice and humans. Monsanto wants to use the
detection of this gene sequence to screen pig populations, in order to
find
which animals are likely to produce more pork per pound of feed. (And that
will be Monsanto Brand genetically engineered feed grown from Monsanto
Brand
genetically engineered seed raised in fields sprayed with Monsanto Brand
Roundup Ready herbicide and doused with Monsanto Brand pesticides, of
course).

But again, Monsanto wants to own not just the selection and breeding
method,
not just the information about the genetic indicators, but, if you pardon
the expression, the whole hog.

Claim 16 asks for a patent on: "A pig offspring produced by a method ..."
Claim 17 asks for a patent on: "A pig herd having an increased frequency
of
a specific ...gene..."
Claim 23 asks for a patent on: "A pig population produced by the
method..."
Claim 30 asks for a patent on: "A swine herd produced by a method..."

This means the pigs, their offspring, and the use of the genetic
information
for breeding will be entirely owned by Monsanto, Inc. and any replication
or
infringement of their patent by man or beast will mean royalties or jail
for
the offending swine.

Not pig fodder

When it comes to profits, pigs are big. Monsanto notes that "The economic
impact of the industry in rural America is immense. Annual farm sales
typically exceed US$ 11 billion, while the retail value of pork sold to
consumers reaches US$ 38 billion each year."

At almost every level of food production, Monsanto is seeking a monopoly
position.

The company once earned its money almost exclusively through
agrochemicals.
But in the last ten years they've spent about US$10 billion buying up seed
producers and companies in other sectors of the agricultural business.
Their
last big acquisition was Seminis, the biggest producer of vegetable seeds
in
the world.

Monsanto holds extremely broad patents on seeds, most, but not all of
them,
related to Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs). Monsanto has also
claimed
patent rights on such non-Monsanto inventions as traditionally bred wheat
from India and soy plants from China. Many of these patents apply not only
to the use of seeds but all uses of the plants and harvest that result.

The big picture is chilling to anyone who mistrusts Monsanto's record
disinterest for environmental safety.

And if you're not worried, you should be: central control of food supply
has
been a standard ingredient for social and political control throughout
history. By creating a monopoly position, Monsanto can force dangerous
experiments like the release of GMOs into the environment on an unwilling
public. They can ensure that GMOs will be sold and consumed wherever they
say they will.

By claiming global monopoly patent rights throughout the entire food
chain,
Monsanto seeks to make farmers and food producers, and ultimately
consumers,
entirely dependent and reliant on one single corporate entity for a basic
human need. It's the same dependence that Russian peasants had on the
Soviet
Government following the Russian revolution. The same dependence that
French
peasants had on Feudal kings during the middle ages. But control of a
significant proportion of the global food supply by a single corporation
would be unprecedented in human history.

It's time to ensure that doesn't happen.

It's time for a global ban of patents on seeds and farm animals.

It's time to tell Monsanto we've had enough of this hogwash.

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This GMO news service is underwritten by a generous grant from the
Newman's
Own Foundation, edited by Thomas Wittman and is a production of the
Ecological Farming Association www.eco-farm.org <http://www.eco-farm.org/
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