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Alternative Nobel Prize

Awarded to the Schmeisers

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Alternative Nobel Prize

Percy Schmeiser and his wife Louise, long known for their legal battle against the biotech giant Monsanto, have been honoured with the Right Livelihood Award.

The Schmeisers have given the world a wake-up call about the dangers to farmers and biodiversity.

Percy Schmeiser and his wife Louise, long known for their legal battle against the biotech giant Monsanto, have been honoured with the Right Livelihood Award.

This “alternative Nobel Prize” has been awarded each year since 1980 in Stockholm, Sweden, to “honour and support those offering practical and exemplary answers to the most urgent challenges facing us today.”

The Schmeisers were chosen for the 2007 award by the Right Livelihood Award Foundation “for their courage in defending biodiversity and farmers’ rights, and challenging the environmental and moral perversity of current interpretations of patent laws.”

Their fight against Monsanto began in 1998 when the Schmeisers received a letter from the US company threatening to sue for “infringement of patent,” claiming the Schmeisers had illegally planted Monsanto’s genetically engineered canola seeds. The Schmeisers argued that the seed blew onto their property and “polluted” their fields.

Their legal battle went to the Supreme Court of Canada, which, in 2004, upheld Monsanto’s patent on its genetically engineered canola seed, but ruled that the Schmeisers would not have to pay damages.

According to the Right Livelihood Award Foundation, “With their fight against Monsanto’s abusive marketing practices, Percy and Louise Schmeiser have given the world a wake-up call about the dangers to farmers and biodiversity everywhere from the growing dominance and market aggression of companies engaged in the genetic engineering of crops.”

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