Monsanto: Sentenced on Appeal for the Poisoning of a Farmer

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Monsato fined for poisoning farmer
Monsato fined for poisoning farmer
The Court of Appeal in Lyon upheld the judgment that recognized the responsibility of the US group Monsanto in the poisoning of a farmer Charentais (pictured), a first in France. | Photo: AFP

The Court of Appeal in Lyon upheld the judgment that recognized the responsibility of the US group Monsanto in the poisoning of a farmer Charentais.

This is a first in France, the Court of Appeal in Lyon confirmed that a Monsanto herbicide was responsible for the poisoning of a French farmer. The American group will have to pay compensation in full.

“The decision is very surprising given the inaccuracies and errors that dot the thesis of Paul Francis.  But it is only one step and the discussion will continue, the fight will continue , was the reaction from Monsanto’s lawyer, M e Jean-Daniel Bretzner, suggesting that the US giant and the seeds agrochemical form “likely” an appeal.

Earthen pot against iron pot

Monsanto had already been found “responsible” at a trial in 2012.  “The earthen pot can win against the iron pot”, was the comment from Paul Francis, from the office of his lawyer in Paris.  This Charentais farmer, partially disabled,  ” firms are not above the law”, and the farmer will now press  compensation.

His life changed on 27th April 2004, when he checked a tank having contained Lasso – “a corn herbicide that I used for fifteen years” – and he inhaled toxic fumes, a- he recently told AFP.  Taken unwell, he has just enough time to explain what just happened to his wife before ending up in the emergency room of hospital, spitting blood: “Everything that happened after I do not remember. ”

Comas repeatedly

After five weeks of stopping, he resumed his work but suffers large speech problems, memory loss and violent headaches.  In late November 2004, he collapsed on the floor of his house, where his daughters discover him lying unconscious. There followed a long period of hospitalization during which doctors fear more than once in his life, never make the connection with Monsanto’s herbicide. “On examination review, coma coma, we ended found a significant failure in the brain. There, my family began to investigate a Lasso “, at its expense, explained the farmer.

It was not until May 2005 to identify the culprit: monochlorobenzene, listed as highly toxic solvent and falling to 50% in the composition of the herbicide.  The fight against the disease gives way to the legal fight, to recognize his relapse as an occupational disease, formalized in 2010. Then against Monsanto, which he is convinced that they knew the dangers of Lasso well before it was banned in France in November 2007.

This herbicide had indeed been deemed unsafe and removed from the market in Canada in 1985, and since 1992 in Belgium and the UK.  At the hearing in May, Monsanto had he repeated that this product was “not dangerous” and that “the damage claimed does not exist”.

For its part, the association against Future Generations pesticides has naturally welcomed the decision. “The recognition of Monsanto’s responsibility in this matter is essential: the firms that put these products on the market must understand that now they can no longer shifting their responsibilities “, said in a statement by Maria Pelletier, president of Future Generations.” It is time that these firms continue to expose entire populations framed those products whose toxicity and dangerousness are well established “, she continues. 

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