Monsanto patents pigs

Brian sez, "Monsanto is seeking to patent not just the breeding methods for a specific herd of pigs, but the herd itself and all its offspring. If you breed a pig with similar characteristics, you may owe royalties to Monsanto -- for characteristics they didn't invent, bred by techniques they didn't invent, simply because they've claimed the patent rights: the pigs are not genetically engineered, and their genetic makeup bears nothing original to Monsanto Corporation. Scary."

In one application (WO 2005/015989 to be precise) Monsanto is describing very general methods of crossbreeding and selection, using artificial insemination and other breeding methods which are already in use. The main "invention" is nothing more than a particular combination of these elements designed to speed up the breeding cycle for selected traits, in order to make the animals more commercially profitable. (Monsanto chirps gleefully about lower fat content and higher nutritional value. But we've looked and we couldn't find any "Philanthropic altruism" line item in their annual reports, despite the fact that it's an omnipresent factor in their advertising.)

According to Then, "I couldn't belive this. I've been reviewing patents for 10 years and I had to read this three times. Monsanto isn't just seeking a patent for the method, they are seeking a patent on the actual pigs which are bred from this method. It's an astoundingly broad and dangerous claim."


(Thanks, Brian!)