The Crowd claims
Stop Monsanto and other multinationals from growing genetically modified (GM) corn that will force all farmers to grow GM corn, will harm biodiversity, and ultimately puts Mexican cultural heritage and way of life at risk.
Next legal action of the crowd
After 36 months of litigation, the plaintiffs who The Crowd Versus support have been certified and the evidentiary period has begun. In this period each party files their evidence. Discovery motions should be completed some time this year. To help to cover the costs for preparation of their evidence, The Crowd is aiming for a target of monthly US $3,000 (2.500 euro) in donations.
GM corn already has been found in native maize. Maize is the precursor to corn and only found in Mexico, the country of origin for this food. The presence of GMO corn represents a very real danger, and its presence will damage biodiversity rights. Therefore GM permits should not be granted on any and all types of corn crops.
Notwithstanding the dozens of legal challenges filed by the GMO multinationals*, the temporary injunction granted in September 2013 to halt all permitting of GM corn crops countrywide was upheld by each and every court of appeals called to review it. This order was granted even before the defendants were served on the lawsuit.
After serving the defendants, on March 7th, 2016, a federal court of appeals ruled the injunction should remain firm until a final decision on the merits of the case. This will remain in effect unless a federal circuit court or the Supreme Court rules otherwise. The injunction halts commercial and pre-commercial GM corn crops countrywide.
Although this decision also ruled that GM corn crops for experimental and scientific research purposes may be authorized, the Mexican Agriculture and Environment agencies have stated to the federal court that no experimental or scientific research GM corn crop permits will be granted until a final and firm ruling on this issue by the Mexican courts.
* Monsanto, Syngenta, SAGARPA, SEMARNAT, PHI (Pioneer-DuPont) and Dow.
Case background and who The Crowd supports
Corn has always been part of the daily lives of all Mexicans. Corn is not only the staple food of Mexico, but also has immense cultural value. Over a period of 8,000 years, Mexicans have cultivated over a thousand types of corn that originated in this country only. If GM corn is authorized, the diversity of native Mexican corn is at risk through contamination. Farmers risk being gradually forced to grow GMO corn or have their native corn contaminated. Mexicans risk losing their cultural heritage and way of life. The crowd risks that in the end their daily food will be patented, and companies like Monsanto will have the monopoly on food and on pesticides. The crowd also risks that there will be no other choice than GM corn. In this way GM corn will also harm all of our biodiversity.
The big GMO companies have already spent estimated millions on 102 legal challenges in court and are fiercely lobbying to pave their way into Mexico to grow GM corn at a commercial level.
Environmental Defender Law Center (EDLC) is the NGO/nonprofit that The Crowd Versus works together with for this case. The coalition of users and consumers of corn biodiversity in Mexico are represented by Alternativas y Procesos de Participación Social A.C. (Alternativas), a nonprofit organization based in Tehuacán, Puebla, Mexico. EDLC is supporting Alternativas and works to protect the human rights of individuals and communities in developing countries who are fighting against harm to their environment.