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Comment Number: AGW-14747
|Sent:||Sunday, January 3, 2010 10:18 PM|
9011 Glen Springs Dr
Dallas, TX 75243-7511
January 3, 2010
US Department of Justice
Dear US Department of Justice:
Note: I am also concerned that through pa
Thank you for the opportunity to submit comments in advance of the
Department of Justice's workshops on "Agriculture and Antitrust
Enforcement Issues in Our 21st Century Economy."
As an organic consumer, I am particularly concerned about Monsanto's
control over the seed supply.
By buying seed companies and aggressively patenting life, Monsanto has
gained control over as much as 90 percent of seed genetics. This is
anti-competitive behavior that skews markets and subjects farmers and
consumers to the unchecked power of a company that can raise prices at
***Through patenting new variations of life, companies like Monsanto are
not held responsible for any negative effects that result from the newly
genetically modified seeds, food, animals, etc. There is no social
responsibility here and that is absurd in an industry that is toying with
life and not even researching or allowing others to look into the
dangerous outcomes because it's the company's intellectual property.
Jeremy Rifkin, Head of the Foundation on Economic Trends, points out that,
"None of these corporations has ever invented a gene de novo. All they are
doing is tampering with and modifying genes that already exist. None of
these organizations has ever created a new organism, either a simple
organism or a multicellular organism. They're simply modifying existing
organisms that have been the product of millions of years of evolution. I
think that we need to understand these genes as discoveries of nature.
They shouldn't be private inventions. We've got to keep this gene commons
open for future generations." The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office's
policy statement asserting that, "Any organism on this planet, any gene,
and cell-line, any organ, any tissue, is potentially patentable as a human
invention," needs to be re-examined and changed. **********************
But, my main concern is that, while Monsanto has acquired a diverse store
of seed genetics, they are only making available a few seeds that are
genetically modified to be dependent on their chemicals.
The vast bounty of food crops that farmers have cultivated and improved
upon over the last 10,000 or so years should not be allowed to be bought
up and put out of commission by a company bent on whittling down food
varieties to a few pesticide-dependent genetically modified crops.
The most devious part of Monsanto's business model is that their
Frankenseeds can cross-pollinate with organic and traditional varieties,
destroying their unique characteristics and infecting them with
genetically engineered chemical dependence or even "Terminator" or
"Traitor" technology that renders seeds sterile, a literal death sentence
for seeds maintained through conventional breeding.
The same way we protect animal species from extinction, we should protect
plant species, especially the tens of thousands of food varieties, from
companies like Monsanto that are consciously eliminating them.
I urge you to please include in your investigation a consideration of the
importance keeping seeds, the foundation of human life, at least in the
marketplace, if not in the public domain where they truly belong.