After a six-year legal battle GMO crop contamination, organic farmer Steve Marsh has lost his bid for a higher court to hear his case and the appeal which would have allowed him the chance to argue his side one final time.
Michael Baxter, Steve Marsh’s neighbor in Australia, grew genetically modified canola on his farm, but it wasn’t long before his crops contaminated Steve Marsh’s organic farm. Baxter says that the two men could have just had a conversation over the fence, but now it seems this legal battle is coming to a close, in Baxter’s favor.
Marsh went to court in 2010, seeking more than $80,000 in compensation, but the Supreme Court dismissed the case in 2014. The court found that Baxter was not responsible and had not acted negligibly in growing GM crops so close to an organic, non-GM farm.
It is noteworthy that both parties were supported financially. Monsanto contributed to Mr. Baxter’s costs while Mr. Marsh’s campaign was supported by the Safe Food Foundation.
Marsh lost income for three years on his farm due to the GM contamination from Baxter’s fields. He sought leave to appeal to the High Court, but it was dismissed just days ago.
This decision means Marsh has no further avenue of appeal, and Monsanto and others win again in their aggressive plans to hold farmers accountable for patent infringement while taking no responsibility for contaminating farmers’ fields that want no part of the GM farming paradigm at all.
Monsanto has been suing farmers in the US for over 16 years, and never once has lost a case.
The Public Patent Foundation originally filed a lawsuit in March of 2011 in a case known as Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association (OSGATA) et al v. Monsanto. The organization launched the suit in the name of the very individuals and organizations threatened by Monsanto’s widespread GMO crops: family farmers, farming organizations, and seed businesses – people just like Steve Marsh.
Is there no justice for farmers fighting against Monsanto’s greed?
ABC.net.au Featured image credit: (ABC News: Richard Glover)
Christina Sarich is a humanitarian and freelance writer helping you to Wake up Your Sleepy Little Head, and See the Big Picture. Her blog is Yoga for the New World. Her latest book is Pharma Sutra: Healing the Body And Mind Through the Art of Yoga.