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REGULATION / COEXISTENCE: Canadian organic farmers may appeal ruling

------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------
TITLE:  Organic farmers may appeal ruling
SOURCE: The Leader-Post (Regina), Canada
AUTHOR: CanWest News Service, Canada, by Betty Ann Adam
DATE:   04.07.2007

Organic farmers may appeal ruling

SASKATOON -- Organic farmers are considering taking their fight to bring
a class action suit over genetically modified canola to the Supreme
Court of Canada after their latest disappointment.

On Wednesday, the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal dismissed their appeal of
a 2005 Queen's Bench ruling that denied their attempt to have a lawsuit
against Monsanto and Bayer CropScience certified as a class action.

Lawyers for the farmers are reviewing the decision to determine whether
they should seek leave to appeal to the Supreme Court, said Arnold
Taylor, chair of the Organic Agriculture Protection Fund Committee.

"If there's a window there, we will try to take it. All our efforts have
been to no avail to date, but we still think we have a point to make and
we're going to pursue it," Taylor said.

The farmers involved want to hold Monsanto and Bayer CropScience liable
for losses they say are due to the introduction of genetically modified
canola and the contamination of organic crops. They contend cross
pollination from neighbouring GM crops undermines their ability to claim
organic status for their crops. They have not yet argued the merits of
that case, because they want to proceed as a class action.

Two farmers were named as plaintiffs in the suit that aims to include
all 1,200 Saskatchewan organic grain farmers. They contend the Court of
Queen's Bench applied an overly rigorous test to the issue of class
certification. To be certified, a case must meet five requirements,
including whether a class action is the preferable procedure and whether
the plaintiffs adequately represent the interests of the class.

Monsanto Canada spokeswoman Trish Jordan said Thursday she is pleased
the appeal court agreed with the companies that a class action would be
an inappropriate use of the provision.

"They haven't met even one of the requirements," Jordan said.

Since the effort to launch the class action began five years ago,
Monsanto has brought to market new traits in soybeans, which reduce the
trans fat content in soy oil, and in corn, to make it more pest
resistant, Jordan said. The company is also working on bringing a new
Roundup Ready canola technology it hopes to bring to market by 2011 or
2012, she said.

With almost 85 per cent of Saskatchewan canola being genetically
modified, the majority of farmers find it a beneficial product, she said.

"Our customers are demanding these products. We continue to work and put
the investment into (research and development) to bring forward these
products," she said.

Jordan had some advice for the organic farmers: the money they're
spending on their legal battle would be better spent promoting the
benefits of their organic products, she said.

"That would be much more beneficial for them as an industry than trying
to fight some battle that clearly, based on the first two judgments from
the courts, that they're not going to win," she said.

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