Friday, February 24, 2006

History of Agriculture vs Monsanto and Roundup

Please forward my comments to all Members of Parliament of Canada:

About 9000 years before the birth of Christ, people in what today is Turkey had begun to cultivate species of grasses for the seeds and used those seeds for feeding animals such as goats, sheep, and camels. This statement can be corroborated by most archaeologists.

These ancient agronomists learned to select from the seeds they had harvested those seeds which had the best nutritional value for their animals and themselves and, over the succeeding millenia, wheat, rye, oats, barley and other strains were developed from these native grasses.

There is a very powerful chemical industry that wishes to introduce into Canada a genetic variation which would make these seeds sterile. Presumably this "terminator" technology would make it possible to spray a field with glyphosate ("ROUNDUP") to kill all plants in the field in question which are not glyphosate-tolerant but leave the glyphosate-tolerant plants unharmed.

Thus, if this terminator-technology were allowed to be introduced and if, for some reason, a disaster were to destroy a race of "normal" wheat, rye, oats, flax, or barley we would probably lose all of the genetic history of the particular "normal" grass-species involved. Likely that genetic material could not be replaced.

I am particularly worried that pollen from terminator plants of one particular species might cross with non-terminator plants of the same species and result in sterile seeds. It has been well-established fact that plant pollen can be carried by insects or borne on wind significant distances. If this Government of Canada permits this terminator technology to be introduced into Canada I will never vote in favor of that political party and I will assiduously work for its defeat in all future elections.

The original purpose of granting letters patent was to grant protection, for a limited period of time, to an inventor of some potentially-useful device so that the inventor would be able to commercialize his invention but after the time had lapsed he would face competition. The operative words were "beneficial" and "competition".

It was not anticipated that the inventor would have permanent protection nor was it anticipated that a potentially harmful material could be permitted to be introduced into the country issuing a patent for the invention.

It is my opinion that the nature of Round Up Ready plants and the policy that Monsanto has been employing amounts to a permanent protection against competition. Consequently I am of the opinion that Monsanto's patent for Round Up Ready plants should be cancelled immediately.

It is my opinion that this terminator technology is potentially harmful rather than potentially beneficial to farmers and, further, that Monsanto's policies would likely be permanently anti-competitive. On both counts, I believe the best interests of Canadians would be served by an absolute refusal to allow the so-called invention into Canada.

Allan Dane
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