The Classic David vs Goliath Struggle.....
Profile of Percy & Louise Schmeiser
Percy and Louise Schmeiser are celebrating over 50 years of marriage. In addition to operating a farm equipment dealership in Bruno, Saskatchewan Canada, they have farmed for close to 60 years. Almost on the verge of retirement, they decided to not back down to Monsanto's threats and intimidation.
Since Monsanto started threatening the Schmeiser's with legal proceedings that started in 1997, the issue has constantly been on their mind and all-consuming. It is intimidating to be sued by large billion dollar company with endless resources. Coupled with the media attention that the case has garnered, it had been difficult for Percy, Louise and family to think of anything else.
The accusations, harassment and destroying of credibility led by Monsanto and their representatives has caused stress, anxiety and worry. This has led to some health problems for Louise as they cope with the situation while standing up for their rights.
They were faced with the fear of being watched constantly, as they had been stalked both at home and farm by private investigators hired by Monsanto. Monsanto representatives had taken every effort to discredit Percy Schmeiser and ruin his reputation through unfounded rumors and gossip in his own community. Monsanto has publicly boasted about their toll-free snitch line and how they would go after farmers, and in the Schmeiser situation, Monsanto had clearly demonstrated their ability to intimate people for their own greed.
One frustrating aspect of this case is that for 55 years, Percy had saved and used his own seed, developing his own variety that was tolerant to local farming conditions. It has been destroyed by Monsanto's Roundup Ready canola being released uncontrolled into the environment. Percy is now unable to use his seed again, and views that as one of the hardest things to happen and accept as a farmer. His lifetime of work is gone and has been taken away.
Percy and Louise have received an overwhelming amount of support in their efforts. Despite this, the financial toll has been extreme. They faced losing their funds for retirement and the legal costs had threatened their farm. This is what they have worked a lifetime for.
It is impossible for an individual to stand up to a large corporation such as Monsanto. They feel that there is no justice for an average citizen in such a fight. Their legal fees alone in fighting for their rights exceeded $400,000.
They have stood up to Monsanto because they feel they have not done anything wrong. They believe in the rights of farmers to save and reuse their own seed...a practice that Percy followed for 55 years. They feel strongly in their freedom of speech and expression, and are concerned about Monsanto's ability to suppress people and turn one farmer against another. Through this experience they also have learned a lot about the safety of food and the effects of genetically altered plants on the environment.
One could argue that the fight was not worth the stress, the time and effort, or expense. However, they felt strongly about standing up to what they feel is right and to leaving a legacy to their 5 children and 15 grandchildren.
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