They will not steal us!

As a bad science fiction novel, genetic engineering can now study the genetic code of living things and manipulate it in the laboratory. The rapid advance of technology has opened the doors to the possibility of being changing genetically for commercial purposes, what did you think? Consequently, interest has been shown to patent beings and elements found in nature, especially by multinational companies.

To better understand all this, we put an example of the neem tree found in India and Africa. The inhabitants of the area have traditionally known the characteristics, properties and use of this tree, which has been used mainly as contraceptive and insecticide. But recently W. R. The American company Grace has patented a compound called azadiractine, from this tree. The ownership of this natural heritage of India and Africa is therefore theirs the right to marketing the product.

Joxerra Zabala

And what is a patent? In short, the patent is the intellectual property formula. By means of the patent, the commercial exploitation of any product remains in the hands of the owner. For legal purposes, the right of exploitation thus obtained is acquired for a period of twenty years.

When you want to patent anything, you must comply with the requirements established by law. Among other things, what you want to patent must be new, in addition to being an industrial and utility use. Let's look at the example we set before. What is the discovery of American companies? There is the lame! There is nothing new, because the locals already knew the use of this product. But that doesn’t matter, it’s a second-order “nonsense,” because it seems that the multinational’s researchers have “improved” the product. How fast are the capitalists!

With this type of argument, any company can get the elements we find in nature from day to day, as it is easy to reinvent something that is invented. Undoubtedly, this practice goes against the rights of peoples and animals, in addition to being a shameful, clear theft. In addition, it directly opposes the obligation to protect and care for animals, since this patent policy considers these beings as objects.

Faced with this, in Europe a large number of critical groups are being organized, some of them created in the shadow of the environmental movement, but also of another kind of militancy: feminists, peasant unions, solidarity associations, leftist groups... In Spain, the Network for the Fight against Patents on Life and Control of Genetic Engineering has also been created; in Euskal Herria we still do not have such a group, but the EHNE union is a member of the aforementioned network and other groups (Eguzki, Ekik, Plataforma Erreka, etc.) have shown concern for this practice.

Unfortunately, we Basques have to take it easy, because among us biodiversity and the richness of nature is quite scarce and thanks to the political class we have, in a few years it will be more scarce. In any case, against the new thieves of multinationals is not bad, to see if nothing is stolen from us. They are fast, of course, but they cannot say that the Basques are yesterday morning.

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