Monsanto welcomes the decision by the French Supreme Court, announced today, to reject an appeal by eight French activists of their earlier conviction in a case involving destruction of Monsanto field trials.
The decision by the French Supreme Court to reject the activists’ appeal effectively confirms last year’s verdict by an appeals court in Poitiers, which condemned the eight activists of a criminal offense and held them liable for civil damages. They were ordered to pay damages to Monsanto and to the land owner whose property was violated as well as fines to the French state, which brought and prosecuted the case.
Those condemned of criminal destruction of property include José Bové, a French activist who led the group called the “faucheurs volontaires,” or voluntary reapers.
“Agriculture is an important part of all of our lives. While we respect each individual’s right to express their point of view on these topics, we believe this decision sends a strong message that deliberate criminal damage is not a legitimate form of civil protest,” said Catherine Lamboley, commercial lead for Monsanto France. “As agriculture and farmers throughout the world work to keep up with the growing demands of a growing population, this verdict highlights the importance to agricultural innovation of a functioning, science-based legal and regulatory system.”
“In France and throughout many parts of Europe, Monsanto continues to meet the needs of our farmer customers with high-performance conventional hybrid corn, vegetable and oilseed rape seeds,” she added.
“Monsanto no longer conducts field experiments with genetically modified crops in France, and has no intention of commercializing them in France or any other country in Europe until they enjoy widespread political and customer support and those countries have a functioning, science-based regulatory system. None of these conditions apply in France today,” she said.