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St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Court case draws Monsanto protesters to White House

Posted: January 10th, 2013 | Filed under: Press | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

OSGATA v Monsanto 18 St. Louis Post Dispatch: Court case draws Monsanto protesters to White House White House Washington Vermont U.S. District Judge U.S. Court of St. Louis Post Dispatch Sow True Seeds Rally Protest patent infringement OSGATA et al v. Monsanto Organic Food National Mall Naomi Buchwald Monsanto lawsuit GMO Labeling Genetic Contamination Demonstration DC David Zuckerman Daniel Ravicher contamination Carol Koury Bill Lambrecht Ashville

Court case draws Monsanto protesters to White House

By Bill Lambrecht blambrecht@post-dispatch.com 202-298-6880
January 10, 2013 12:30 pm

WASHINGTON • An appeal by organic farmers to a court ruling last year turned into a wide-ranging protest this morning with speakers skewering Monsanto Co. for its policies and demanding labeling of genetically modified food.

About 200 people, many from organic seed companies, rallied in a park directly across from the White House on a crisp, cloudless day amid construction for festivities surrounding the second inauguration of President Barack Obama on Jan. 21.

Protesters announced that another rally will take place on Jan. 21 with a march on the National Mall demanding that Obama follow through with what they say was his promise in 2007 to seek labeling of food with genetically modified ingredients.

The protest suggested an uptick in efforts to demand labeling, which was defeated in a California ballot initiative in November. Creve Coeur-based Monsanto spent at least $8 million in an industry-wide effort to sink the California proposition.

Vermont state Sen. David Zuckerman said at the rally that he is leading an effort in his state seeking legislation requiring labeling of genetically modified food.

Organic farmers, who are pressing a lawsuit against Monsanto, often complain that their products are threatened by wind-blown pollen from genetically altered crops.

“We want and demand the right of clean seed not contaminated by a massive biotech company that’s in it for the profit,” Carol Koury, who operates Sow True Seeds in Asheville, N.C., said at the rally.

The gathering was held in conjunction with an appeal heard today before a three-judge U.S. Court of Appeals panel in Washington. The suit questions the legality of Monsanto’s seed patents and seeks protection from patent-infringement suits against farmers in the event their fields are found to contain genetically modified seed.

The lawsuit was filed by the Public Patent Foundation on behalf of the Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association.

Last February, U.S. District Judge Naomi Buchwald in the Southern District of New York dismissed the suit, asserting that “there is no evidence to suggest that plaintiffs are infringing defendants’ patents, nor have plaintiffs suggested when, if ever, such infringement will occur.”

Buchwald said in her ruling that it was “hardly significant” that Monsanto had filed 144 patent-infringement cases over a 13-year period given the number of farms in the United States.

After the dismissal, a Monsanto lawyer called the ruling a victory for all farmers.

This morning, Public Patent Foundation’s Daniel Ravicher, a lawyer who presented the appeal, asked: “If our clients don’t have standing today to seek protection, when will they have standing? Do they have to wait to be contaminated?”


Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch

St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Protesters rally against Monsanto

Posted: September 18th, 2012 | Filed under: Press | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |
stl today banner drop laurie skrivan1 St. Louis Post Dispatch: Protesters rally against Monsanto STL St. Louis Post Dispatch St. Louis Safe Food Action St. Louis Rally Protest OWS Monsanto Millenium Hotel GMO Free Midwest GMO Labeling Georgina Gustin Gateway Green Alliance FDA Dr. Irina Ermakova Demonstration Barbara Chicherio

Protesters rally against Monsanto

By Georgina Gustin, September 18, 2012 12:05 am

Protesters marking the one-year anniversary of the Occupy Wall Street movement gathered at three St. Louis area locations to protest against Monsanto Co., including the biotechnology giant’s Creve Coeur headquarters.

The protests here, organized by a network calling itself Occupy Monsanto and by the group GMO-Free Midwest, were among 45 other “actions” held across the country Monday, organizers said.

Calling on the company to more rigorously test and label genetically modified ingredients, the protesters first gathered outside the Millenium Hotel downtown, then outside the Whole Foods Market in Brentwood and finally outside the company’s offices.

“We’re celebrating the first anniversary of Occupy Wall Street,” said Barbara Chicherio, of the Gateway Green Alliance and Safe Food Action St. Louis, and a spokesperson for Occupy Monsanto’s efforts here. “We had a lot of concerns about large corporations controlling the government, but it wasn’t very focused. Now we’re focusing on Monsanto.”

The protests are the latest in a series of events over the past year in which activists have called for mandatory labeling of foods containing genetically modified ingredients. A petition urging the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to require labeling gathered more than 1 million signatures earlier this year, and a proposition requiring labeling will go before voters in California this November.

According to records filed with the California Secretary of State, Monsanto has contributed more than $7 million to defeat the proposition.

Now, activists say, they are reaching beyond the labeling issue. “Over 1 million signatures were sent to the FDA and they were basically ignored,” said Adam Eidinger, a coordinator with Occupy Monsanto. “So what’s left to do? It’s time for civil disobedience.”

Eidinger said the company temporarily suspended operations at two of its California facilities in the past week because of protest actions.

Monsanto would not comment on the suspension of operations, saying only that the safety of its employees was paramount.

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Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch

St. Louis Post-Dispatch Coverage of the Occupy Monsanto S17 Free Speech Banner Blitz

Posted: March 20th, 2012 | Filed under: Press | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Banners, more protests against Monsanto

by Georgina Gustin, Tuesday, March 20, 2012, 12:14 pm

Protesters who are part of a movement calling itself Occupy Monsanto hung banners throughout the region early Tuesday, a day after holding a march through downtown St. Louis and days after protests against the company were held in some 30 cities across the country.

Some of the signs read “FDA is Genetically Contaminated by Monsanto” and “Genetic Biohazard: Defend Yourself.”

By mid-day Tuesday, roughly half of the 13 banners, which were hung mostly on highway overpasses, had been removed by law enforcement, according to an Occupy Monsanto organizer.

Over the weekend the Creve Couer-based biotechnology giant told employees at a research facility in Davis, Calif., that they did not need to come to work, out of concern for their safety amid protests there.

A Monsanto spokesperson said 60 people work at the facility, but did not comment further.

The movement, an offshoot of Occupy Wall Street, is trying to urge people to take part in a one-day international protest on September 17, the one-year anniversary of the Occupy Wall Street movement.

The group is calling on federal regulators to require mandatory labeling of foods containing transgenic ingredients, and is pushing to stop approval of new crops that would be genetically engineered to withstand applications of old-generation herbicides.

The company said it respects the rights of the protesters to voice their opinions, but did not comment beyond that.


Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch