RUNNING HEAD: MONSANTO VS CONSUMERS 1 Monsanto: The Future of Food Kenneth Wong
MONSANTO VS CONSUMERS 2 ( 1a ) For two hundred years, the government did not allow for the patenting of life or anything in relation to mother nature. This made sense for obvious moral reasons, but, that eventually changed. Scientists were able to patent plants and crops despite the unpredictable genetic mutations that may occur in the future. This opened doors for genetic engineering and big corporations such as Monsanto. ( 1b ) According to the documentary (2004), Monsanto, initially a pesticide company, bought out all the seed companies in the United States. Because Monsanto owned all the seed companies, they were able to patent all kinds of seeds regardless if they were genetically modified or regular seeds. This resulted in Monsanto monopolizing the seed industry and indirectly monopolizing the pesticide industry because they would have control of what the seeds are vulnerable to. Monsanto’s actions are ethically reasonable under both utilitarianism and egoism. If what Monsanto is doing is beneficial for consumers, then it would be for the greater good. Also, buying all the seed companies and patenting them would be in the self-interest of the company to make more money. ( 1c ) For example, Monsanto found out a small farmer, Percy Schmeiser, sprayed roundup, a pesticide product from Monsanto, and half of Schmeiser’s canola crops had perished while the other half thrived. He had believed his crops simply built a resistance from the pesticide after so much exposure, but it was discovered that his plants were actually accidentally cross-pollinated with Monsanto’s canola seeds. Monsanto had trespassed onto Schmeiser’s land to test the plants to discover they were the patented genetically modified canola seeds. As a result, Monsanto had sued Schmeiser for patent infringement. ( 1d ) Schmeiser fought against the lawsuit from Monsanto because he believed he did not do anything wrong and if Monsanto were to bully him, they would bully other farmers as
MONSANTO VS CONSUMERS 3 well. Unfortunately, the judge ruled that regardless of how the seed appeared on Schmeiser’s land, it would be an infringement of Monsanto’s patent. The judge’s ruling would discourage all other farmers from trying to fight Monsanto’s future lawsuits. ( 1e ) Seed hunters or plant hunters, provide “the greatest service which can be rendered to any country is to add a useful plant to its culture” (Simon & Schuster, 2010, p.141). Seed hunters are people that go around the world searching for undiscovered or endangered seeds. Many of these seeds are endangered because of climate change or other natural catastrophes. To ensure the possibility of having a future with these plants, the seeds are preserved until technology can provide a safe hospitable environment for these seeds.
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