Power of Monsanto: Shareholder Meeting Had More Cops, Arrests Than Votes for GMO Labels
At the Monsanto shareholders' meeting on Tuesday in which activists called for a vote on whether the company should enact mandatory GMO labeling, two things were clear: Mandatory GMO labels aren't happening any time soon, and the police have Monsanto's back.
"He has just entered a blue Ford F-150," a Creve Coeur cop says into a walkie talkie as Dave Murphy, a farmer and food activist who had just given a speech to about 50 protesters near the Monsanto entrance on Olive Avenue, gets into his truck.
As Murphy drives to another part of the biotech giant's sprawling campus to address shareholders about a proposal to make GMO-labeling mandatory, several of Creve Coeur's finest keep their eyes on him.
Murphy had done nothing suspicious.
Nonetheless, one of the patrol cars follows Murphy as another appears to write down his license-plate number.
Daily RFT reached out to Creve Coeur police chief Glenn Eidman to ask if his officers were on duty or working a side gig on their own time at Monsanto's expense.
"All police officers were on duty being paid by the City of Creve Coeur," Eidman replied in an e-mail response.
The display of power continues inside Monsanto headquarters during the annual shareholders' meeting. In a roomful of predominantly middle-aged to elderly white men in business suits surrounded by large photos of smiling brown farmers from developing countries, elevator music played as the shareholders found their seats.
Soon Hugh Grant, the CEO of Monsanto, takes the podium. A glare of light shines off his bald head as he speaks in a Scottish brogue that would make a character in Trainspotting blush. With a booming mic and a large screen projecting his image on each side, Grant speaks slowly, carefully, almost apologetically -- enveloping the room with the perfect combination of cuddly and corporate. That will come in handy when it comes time to let the activists speak.
Click on the next page to see little old ladies get put in handcuffs at Monsanto headquarters...