Wesley Crusher and the patenting of pig reproduction



wil.jpg This morning I awoke to Wil Wheaton, aka “Wesley Crusher”, waning in the crumbling complex of my nighttime imaginations. In my dream, I’m pretty sure his name was Carl. (Eminem was nowhere to be seen)
Carl had some drug problems and I was trying to help him. Mostly I’m sure of this because the soundtrack to my dream was The Verve’s “The Drugs Don’t Work”. Which was fine, awake or asleep, it’s a great song.

In a lucid state, I wouldn’t normally be inclined to nocturnal notions of Wil aka Wesley aka Carl. Well, maybe I should break that down: Wil is kind of cute. I like how silly and fun he can be at wilwheaton.net; Wesley, no way no how. He was a limp dick cold fish. And Carl, well I’m getting to him…

With Carl, I was feeling enchanted in a let-me-save-you-from-yourself kinda way. Thank god that inclination is over in real life – a rancid leftover from when I was 23, currently surfing the garbage dump of my subconscious. A temporary brain belch let’s hope.

So I don’t know what happened exactly in the dream, only this message is clear: “Carl, the drugs don’t work!”

Speaking of sci-fi madness (ok, I know it’s a weak segue, work with me, this is serious), Monsanto is at it again. The evil behind terminator seeds, the world’s most popular herbicide, bovine growth hormone, aspartame, agent orange… I can probably stop there… has quietly crept into mammalian territory.

Determined to control the global food supply (terminator seeds are one way, these seeds have been genetically-engineered so that when the crops are harvested, all new seeds from these crops are sterile forcing farmers to buy seeds each year… from guess who?), Monsanto has applied for patents on pigs.

From Greenpeace:

Take patent application WO 2005/017204. This refers to pigs in which a certain gene sequence related to faster growth is detected. This is a variation on a natural occurring sequence — Monsanto didn’t invent it.

It was first identified in mice and humans. Monsanto wants to use the detection of this gene sequence to screen pig populations, in order to find which animals are likely to produce more pork per pound of feed. (And that will be Monsanto Brand genetically engineered feed grown from Monsanto Brand genetically engineered seed raised in fields sprayed with Monsanto Brand Roundup Ready herbicide and doused with Monsanto Brand pesticides, of course).

But again, Monsanto wants to own not just the selection and breeding method, not just the information about the genetic indicators, but, if you pardon the expression, the whole hog.

Claim 16 asks for a patent on: “A pig offspring produced by a method …”

Claim 17 asks for a patent on: “A pig herd having an increased frequency of a specific …gene…”

Claim 23 asks for a patent on: “A pig population produced by the method…”

Claim 30 asks for a patent on: “A swine herd produced by a method…”
This means the pigs, their offspring, and the use of the genetic information for breeding will be entirely owned by Monsanto, Inc. and any replication or infringement of their patent by man or beast will mean royalties or jail for the offending swine.

Read the whole article here. Greenpeace offers a few things you can do to help stop the insanity but it’s not enough. Surely we will spread the word and be careful with what we buy, but what else? It’s madness, it truly is.

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