Collective action against the confiscation of the living world

“Civil society can no longer count on anything other than itself to assure its future” Corinne Lepage, MEP – statement following the Copenhagen summit, published in the French newspaper Le Monde, 23/12/2009

As agricultural and health professionals and as citizens in general we are being, little by little, dispossessed of the natural resources of the living world, which should be freely available for the common benefit of everyone, for the profit of the multinationals linked to the industrial life-sciences which produce artificial, standardised and patented products, copies and derivatives.

The actors in the industrial and financial sectors are progressively monopolising the vital and living resources of nature, such as seed stocks and varieties of cereal crops, fruits and vegetables and aromatic and medicinal plants. Resources which have been, until very recently, freely accessible by everyone and which have been used since time immemorial by Man for his food, health and harmonious integration into his natural environment, with respect for the natural biodiversity.

We have reached the point whereby our foodstuffs contain genetically modified organisms, despite the fact that the majority of the European population refuse their production.

Bee colonies are in alarming decline, a situation which gravely affects the pollination of the vegetable kingdom. This situation is a serious ecological alarm bell which should be alerting us to the indispensable biological collaboration between the living organisms in the natural world. 

Our water supplies, thanks to a recent European Citizens’ Initiative, escaped narrowly a European Directive entitled “Public Concessions” which had the objective of privatising the water supply services for all the countries of the EU. Without the action of this initiative, our water, just like all the other vital resources for life, would have become a private commodity – owned and controlled by private corporations and their shareholders!

These regulations imposed by the authorities facilitate this confiscation for the benefit of the industrials, leading to a regression of the vitality of the living world. An open-market, freely available status for natural products of widely know efficacity would constitute a competition effect on the industrial living products offered by the multinationals (for example hybrid seed varieties, GMO etc) and chemically synthesized and patented products (for example medicines, chemical pesticides and herbicides). The consumer interest in finding alternative, natural solutions to the numerous environmental and health problems we are faced with today is growing and the multinationals are redoubling their efforts to eliminate this competition, with the complicity of the authorities. Authorities who are making illegal, with regulation after regulation, the possibilities of using natural products which are of little or no concern in terms of safety: by imposing hugely onerous registration procedures which were designed for chemical pharmaceutical products to ensure patient and public safety; by imposing inapt industrial standardisation requirements; by imposing strict definitions and categorisations which are incompatible with the nuances of the natural living world.  

Public authorities and industrial lobbies, working together to prevent the legitimate use of natural products of low concern, using the false pretexts of risk to food safety and public health or by grouping together these innocuous products with others (natural and artificial) which are more complex, problematic or technical to use and imposing the same heavy-weight, costly authorisation procedures to all products.

Nevertheless, these resources which are  necessary to life (for example traditionally selected seed varieties, foodstuffs and traditional medicinal plants of low concern) are part of the common heritage and as such cannot legitimately be taken into individual ownership or legislated against because they form integral parts of the living community (otherwise known as biodiversity). In terms of public health and safety in use, these common resources have been used freely by humans since the beginning of their time on earth and are already therefore well established, tried, tested and in recent times validated by science.

To insist on bringing into question the right to use such products is illegitimate and serves no purpose other than the desire to restrict their usage with patents, costly registrations and disproportionate Market Authorisation procedures…. or even to remove them purely and simply, from the market as the RCE 230/2013 has done!

As we have seen then, the field of health, the natural and traditional products are already practically eliminated by a series of disproportionate regulations which disqualify them, leaving the path clear for the chemically synthesised and patented industrial alternatives. The monopolisation of the vegetable food resources is already underway and the privatisation by patents and official varieties lists of fruit and vegetables is already written into EC legislation which also makes the commercial growing of unlisted, traditional varieties of vegetables and other foods a CRIMINAL OFFENCE.

The vegetable, animal and human genetic code is already the object of numerous patents and  intellectual and industrial property rights. Naturally occurring sequences of DNA and genes become, in this way, the INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY of biotech companies who then claim royalties on the sale of products containing their genetic sequences. The notion being that, because they decoded the (naturally occurring) genes in their laboratory they are the rightful owners of that DNA code and can use that right to MAKE MONEY.

We wish to contribute to the awareness of the public at large or this plundering of the living world, to expose methods and pretexts such as these which are used by industry to get away with such abhorrences and to point out the biological, sanitary, ecological, ethic, social and democratic problems this evolution raises.

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 [Go to the page: Liberate Medicinal Plants!]