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Power of Monsanto: Shareholder Meeting Had More Cops, Arrests Than Votes for GMO Labels

Categories: Bidness, Police

After getting some formalities out of the way, Grant gets to the big topic of the day: the shareholder proposal to make it mandatory that Monsanto put GMO labels on products made with its seeds.

Thumbnail image for hugh_grant_monsanto.jpg
via
Monsanto CEO Hugh Grant

Murphy, a tall, bearded man with a large build inside a slightly wrinkled suit, is here on behalf of Adam Eidinger, an activist shareholder who bought into the company to encourage GMO labels. He has to take the microphone in the middle of the conference room, with half of the audience looking at his back while the other half have their back turned to him. Most people don't bother turning around. He has three minutes.

Murphy speaks quickly, passionately and at times nervously, squeezing in as much as he can about the importance of GMO labels.

Knowledge about the products one buys is just good capitalism, because "in a free market, consumers need to know," he says.

People deserve the right to know what's in their food, he says. That's what they think in 64 countries around the world, so why not the U.S.?

"Even in Hugh Grant's home country of Scotland, they have GMO labeling," Murphy says as the Monsanto CEO snickers.

Instead, Murphy says, Monsanto spends millions of dollars to defeat initiatives that would require GMO labeling in the United States, like the company did in 2012 when it shelled out $8 million to defeat California's proposition 37.

A few more activists speak in favor of GMO labels. They say more or less the same thing as Murphy.

It's Grant's turn to respond. Two large screens again project his image and the louder mic booms his soft voice. All eyes are forcibly on him as he says labels are not needed and would only add unnecessary costs to the world's poor. Instead, he says, the company should just do a better job of educating people about how GMO food won't hurt them. The cost of education campaigns, anti-label campaigns, and the cost to the world's poor is not mentioned.

Finally, a vote is held. More than 95 percent of the shareholders vote against mandatory GMO labels. Another proposal for a report about the cost of GMO labels is also rejected by more than 93 percent of shareholders.

Grant explains Monsanto's philosophy that it's not their job to label. If companies that sell products made with Monsanto seeds want to use labels, that's their business.

"We're a seed company," he says. "We're the front end of the channel, but we're not the channel."

See also: Supreme Court Rules 9-0 for Monsanto in Seed-Patent Case

The meeting is adjourned. Media are immediately ushered out of the building, literally to the door. But outside, protesters have been busy.

fishy_cars_towed.JPG
Ray Downs
The "Fishy Car Fleet" gets towed away.

Cars from the "Are We Eating Fishy Food?" campaign have blocked the entrance to Monsanto headquarters, and police are arresting the drivers. Tow trucks take the cars away.

Other protesters have been arrested, including a person in a giant rat costume who was dancing on top of the Monsanto sign.

Although only about 30 to 40 protesters were present, at least two dozen police officers were on hand.

And then a silver Volkswagon hatchback rolls up with a woman holding a yellow sign out the window. St. Louis County cops in military fatigue uniforms immediately pull her over and take her out of the car. She looks to be in her sixties.

lady_arrested.JPG
Ray Downs
The lady was protesting too much.

As one of the camouflage-wearing cops searches the back of her vehicle, another puts her in handcuffs. She asks why she's being arrested.

"Impeding traffic," an officer answers.

"You're the one impeding traffic," she snaps back.

"Can we get a female over here?" the arresting cop asks one of his colleagues. Within moments, a Creve Coeur female cop comes over and pats down the woman, who is now surrounded by several county cops in military garb.

lady_arrested_cops.JPG
Ray Downs

In all, police arrested ten protesters.

Follow Ray Downs on Twitter:

E-mail him at Ray.Downs@RiverfrontTimes.com.


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109 comments
info3792
info3792

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Jesda Ulati
Jesda Ulati

There are no studies indicating that GMOs are dangerous. Patent laws, on the other hand...

Teresa Reineck
Teresa Reineck

What the hell is you alls definition of a hippie? Shit!

Sharon Johnson
Sharon Johnson

Their own shit has been banned from their cafeteria for years now, they know, they just don't care if we eat it.

Rochelle Cronan Johnson
Rochelle Cronan Johnson

Grow your own and get sick ??? What ! When you grow your own I hope you are not shitting in the garden like people are who are stuck in the fields for hours picking the food . Ecoli. For onev

Rochelle Cronan Johnson
Rochelle Cronan Johnson

Wow hippies because you want non contaminated altered food , lol lol ya OK some people have no idea what they are eating , how about growing your own

Matthew Eck
Matthew Eck

It's amazing how other countries have bans against our food and some of you still think our food is safe. Other countries politicians are not controlled by money. Probably no correlation there either.

Matthew Eck
Matthew Eck

I like your article. It should be titled a study funded by Monsanto. Hey Monsanto said they sky is red. I guess it is.

Matthew Eck
Matthew Eck

You moron. Monsanto gets special treatment because they fund political campaigns. I guess you don't think money controls politics and that the people do. That's a nice make believe world you live in. Unfortunately it's not reality. See the Supreme Court ruled that corporations are people so they control the political scene and can create super pacs and give secretly with no disclosure the amount and who it's from. Unlimited amounts of money. Nobody here has ever heard of citizens united. Keep eating your feet. Probably time for you special idiots to start playing in traffic cause you certainly don't know what is going on in this country.

Matthew Eck
Matthew Eck

Well maybe somebody should figure out who it is that fights against the labeling before they start suggesting the fight be brought to the manufacturers instead of Monsanto. Monsanto is the one who spends billions of dollars fighting these ballot initiatives and then sues farmers out of business who don't want to use their piece of shit seeds. That high yield bullshit isn't even accurate. The yields are not greater they are less. And now the very bugs these seeds are supposed to be killing are building an immunity to the seed so now Monsanto has to make the seed even stronger by splicing in more chemical. This was always known that it would happen but Monsanto grossly underestimated the amount of time that the bugs would develop this resistance. Gotta love you Monsanto apologists that eat up everything a huge corporation says like they have the publics best interests in mind. What good could ever come out of a chemical company owning patents on seeds? The two don't go together. It's baffling the amount of ignorance that goes into some of you Monsanto apologists posts. Keep living in your alternate reality with zero concept of science. I just took a huge shit and I bet if I gave it to Monsanto to sell you idiots would eat it cause they said its ok. Guess that's why they have to be protected by amendments to the constitution so they don't get prosecuted when the truth finally does come out about the damage done to the human body from eating food with chemicals and poisons grown into the food. Critical thinking is what you are lacking. Wake the fuck up.

Michael Newsham
Michael Newsham

Hey Steve, how's it going buddy? More power to you on the garden. That's a lot of work. I think everybody is concerned about what we eat and what is in our food. This is a tough topic and activists definitely seemed to get their information out to the public before scientists were able to. Anyway, there is a lot of misinformation floating around. If you are interested in learning more about the science side of GMO's this seems to be a good resource with a lot of private studies referenced. http://gmoanswers.com/ As far as the Monsanto Exec working for the FDA, you are probably referring to Michael Taylor. Is it possible he got that job due to his knowledge and experience Food/Ag industry? People often move from company to company and get roles based on their expertise and experience in a particular field, but that doesn't always give media a great story to report on. So they go with the conspiracy that Monsanto gets favoritism based off ex employee experience. Don't you think Michael Taylor would be concerned about his reputation if he gave any type of special treatment to Monsanto?

Steve Schmidt
Steve Schmidt

What's up mike. I was unaware that wanting to know what is in my food or done to my food made me a conspiracy theorist. I prefer to think of my self as a realist! But any ways. If you guys would of just said that Monsanto is really just looking out for the end consumers and the end consumers wallets in regards to having GMO's labeled. This argument would of been over a long time a go and possibly there wouldn't of even been a protest or people arrested yesterday. See everyone, they are really just doing all this for us! I certainly feel better now. Now how do I go about joining this Illumaniti that you speak of, sounds interesting!!! lol No one has commented on the fact that high ranking Monsanto employees have been on the board of people that are suppose to be governing said agencies. I am neither pro or anti Monsanto btw this should be a pretty simple thing to figure out. I might add that I hunt, grow my own garden and any other possible thing I can do to not have to buy commercialized foods for this exact reason. I personally like to know where my food comes from.

Michael Newsham
Michael Newsham

Man Steve, didn't realize you were on the conspiracy band wagon. Maybe one day you will be able to join the Illuminati and really know what is going on. I agree that people have a right to know what's in their food, but don't they also have a right to be able to afford food. We are talking about a lot of costs that have already been mentioned in other posts, and a product that has been proven over and over again as safe by numerous independent scientist as well govt testing over a 40 year period. Not to mention the fact that Monsanto sells seed to farmers. They do not manufacture or sell food in grocery store or have anything to do with packaging. So maybe activist and GMO labeling proponents should be targeting the food manufacturers instead of seed companies. Should we also label beef that is label grass feed next to other beef that says not grass fed? Eat organic or eat Cheerios. Shop at whole foods. There are alternatives. You can already choose and you have the right to do that.

Darrell Derennaux
Darrell Derennaux

Monsanto can NEVER be charged with any charges they are above any and all laws in the United States per the government then have a license to kill and not be prosecuted. This is a FACT !!!

Kristy Lytle
Kristy Lytle

Jared those 'terminator' seeds were used in other countries... and that is the basis for many countries putting stricter regulations. Scientific testing is all fine and dandy until 40 years down the line someone discovers it did in fact harm us. Asbestos ring a bell? How about lead based paint? You cannot say with any certainly these GMO seeds will never cause harm. You know what's been proven safe over HUNDREDS of years? Food that hasn't been genetically altered. Until Monsanto and other companies can say the same, it shouldn't be considered safe for consumption. I'm sorry, but there is nothing you can do, say, or direct us toward that will prove it is as safe as food the Earth provided us with. It's common sense. Labels should be mandatory across the board. Consumers have a right to know what seeds, pesticides, etc were used. There's not a good enough reason not to.

Jared Goble
Jared Goble

Steve, if it's a processed food not labeled organic or gmo-free, it's a safe assumption that it contains GMOs. That being the case, they're not difficult to avoid. The argument against it is that it perpetuates the impression that GMO food is substantively different than their non-GMO counterparts. Labeling also costs a significant amount of money both to do and to regulate. You're talking about substantially increasing the responsibilities of the FDA or creating a new government agency to verify and police the labeling, resulting in a combination of higher taxes and higher prices at the store. I'm in favor of more choice in what I eat, not less, and while you and I may be able to afford the higher food prices, others don't have that luxury and have to buy what they can afford.

ledzeppelinfan89t
ledzeppelinfan89t

"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."

Really riding on those nuts, eh? This is arguably one of the most OBVIOUSLY biased things I have ever read. How you received a job blogging for RFT is beyond me.

Jared Goble
Jared Goble

Logan, where'd you get this 3 generations until you see the effects of GMO food theory? I've never heard that and am interested in finding out more. I'm curious if when the 3rd generation is fine if then it becomes the 4th generation that's going to suffer, similar to the doomsday preachers that push the date of the end of the world out another few years the day after the previous date passes.

Deb Woods
Deb Woods

And shame on you RFT. Were you paid for this piece by your corporate overlords ie Monsanto??

Deb Woods
Deb Woods

If Monsanto isn't poisoning us ask yourself WHY their employee cafeteria is all ORGANIC with no GMOs. They don't want to kill their own engineers. Wake up people before it's too late!

Jared Goble
Jared Goble

Your goal in labeling seems rooted in your personal choice to avoid consumption of anything GMO, which I fully support. You can do that today by purchasing food labeled "organic" or "GMO-free." If it's not labeled as such, it's pretty safe to assume that it contains GMO ingredients since such ingredients are more efficient to produce, and thus less costly. You may also be interested to know that Monsanto has committed a substantial amount of money to funding and conducting research into bee colony collapse disorder. All members of the agricultural sector have a vested interest in promoting bee health as it affects their bottom line.

Jared Goble
Jared Goble

Cross-species DNA transfer does happen in the wild. Called horizontal gene transfer, there are multiple mechanisms. There are also DNA substitutions, insertions, and deletions that naturally occur due to mutations. The crossing of plants over hundreds of years isn't natural either. It's manmade. As is the computer/phone/tablet you're looking at. Not being "natural" should hardly be grounds for rejecting something in and of itself. Without man's intervention, nature couldn't have started with wild cabbage and produced the kale, lettuce, cabbage, brussel sprouts, broccoli and couliflower that we enjoy today - at least not in the short time frame that man's done it.

Jared Goble
Jared Goble

Kristy, the "terminator" seeds your referring to are not and never were in production. GMO seeds are more expensive, and yet farmers continue to choose them over conventional seeds because they result in a higher output per input (fertilizer, pesticide, water, land, etc.) for the farmer. Clearly Monsanto and other GMO seed companies make money from selling them, but so do the farmers. If the farmer didn't make more money by planting GMO, they wouldn't continue to choose GMO seeds when there are many other options out there. I'm aware of the lawsuits against farmers that broke the legal agreement they signed when they purchased the seed, or who acquired the seed through an unlicensed source in order to circumvent the intellectual property agreement. I'm also aware that Monsanto hasn't sued anyone that's the victim of any kind of accidental contamination. Furthermore, honest farmers generally dislike their cohorts that pirate seed because their theft results in an unfair advantage. Farmers in a small community frequently rent additional land on which to grow more crops. The guy that steals his seed instead of paying for it can afford to pay more rent per acre, putting the honest farmer at a distinct disadvantage. You say you're interested in facts, but I suspect you're only interested in "facts" match your preconceived notions. If you do some open-minded research into legitimate sources, you'll find that GMOs and the companies that produce them aren't the boogeymen the organic lobby has made them out to be.

Kristy Lytle
Kristy Lytle

Jared Goble... I said nothing about pesticide. How about addressing the points I actually made? You'll look less like an ignorant Monsanto troll.

Jared Goble
Jared Goble

The "pesticide" that's in the food is a protein that's harmful to certain species of bugs, but not to humans. It's not that different than chocolate being poisonous to dogs, but perfectly safe for people. Additionally, the protein in question is the same one that organic farmers spray on their crops as a natural pesticide. Please, do some research and consider that.

Jon Senn
Jon Senn

Grow your own plants if you have a problem with what Monsanto is doing. Then watch yourself get sick from not washing the crops properly. Monsanto is doing what has to be done because there are too many people on this planet. Of you want them to stop, just start killing yourselves to get the population down.

Jeff Willett
Jeff Willett

I saw one of the 'hippies' drive by with a protest sign in his Mercedes. Wish I made hippie money...

Kerry Russell
Kerry Russell

I am NOT a hippie, and yet this is the first protest in St. Louis I haven't been to. Why don't you people get a little more informed. WAKEY WAKEY...Or better yet, just keep poisoning yourselves.

Anne Rezentes
Anne Rezentes

Shame on the Police Department for once again backing the wrong team.

Sarah Stokes
Sarah Stokes

I guess all the MANY other countries that ban GMO's and or have them labeled are "hippies" too? Do some research and think outside of your box. If I have to be called a "hippie" because I don't want to eat a questionable science experiment; so be it.

Liz Ramsey
Liz Ramsey

yeah hippies are so silly. social progress PSSSSH who cares? oh come on people, is everyone who protests a hippie? And even they are, does that really negate the message? Unfortunately you close-minded bigots get to sit back while everyone else pushes for a better world.

Ryan Bell
Ryan Bell

Article seems a bit opinionated. Was hoping to read news.

Clark Medley
Clark Medley

I would protest hippies but I can't figure out where they work

Steve Schmidt
Steve Schmidt

Seems like there are two sides to this fight. Those that work for Monsanto and believe that nothing that they do is wrong or criminal in any means and those that can see the light. I believe all that people are asking for is for GMO food to be labeled, what's the harm in labeling GMO food?!? Then the public has the choice to eat it or not. Say what you want about it being safe or not, just let US decide if we want to eat it or not! Don't try to hide what might or might not of been done to our food. I'm not going to say that it is safe to eat GMO's or not, but it definitely seems very fishy that this company is so vested in protecting their product from the feee choice consumer. Not even speaking on how they are in bed with the government that is suppose governing them and protecting us! I don't think any one can argue this point at all!!!

Jason Lash
Jason Lash

Silly hippies. When will you learn

Daniel Knoll
Daniel Knoll

one of the worst (racist,slutty,dishonest, etc...) people I've ever met works for Monsanto, as a Human Resource manager!!!!

Stephanie Peace
Stephanie Peace

Pesticides are proven to cause harm and they create the pesticides and herbicides and then splice them in the genes of food. Do some critical thinking and consider that.

Kristy Lytle
Kristy Lytle

Jared Goble. They are not good for farmers or consumers. Many GMOs won't produce new seeds and the companies enforce strict policies that you cannot retain any seeds for future use. In the end they are more expensive and who benefits? Monsanto and other GMO companies. The costs are passed to consumers. It's simple math. I bet you're also ignorant to the several lawsuits farmers have against these companies. You are either like the rest of the sheep being led to slaughter or you're a wolf in sheep's clothing trolling on behalf of GMO labels. Either way, I'm not interested in anything but facts.

Virginia Rowe
Virginia Rowe

GMOs and hybrids are completely different. Hybrids are created by crossing two plants of the same species, meaning corn crossed with corn or strawberries crossed with strawberries. This process occurs naturally in the wild( for centuries ) and can be influenced by humans. Humans will influence the hybridization by selecting plants that exhibit specific traits whether it is higher yield, stronger stalks, or any other phenotype or physical trait they want the next generation plant to exhibit. Genetically modified organisms are created by GENE INSERTION, using genes from a different plant species or even a different KINGDOM, like bacteria to plants. So they are not created by crossing plants of the same species like the hybridization process. For example, the Bt trait developed by Monsanto is a bacterium (Bacillus thuringiensis) that is inserted into a plant. I don’t think inserting a bacteria into corn would be considered a hybrid and this process does NOT happen naturally in the wild to my knowledge. In theory you could insert a gene from a salmon into a tomato that could increase the plants cold hardiness. This would be genetic engineering or a genetically modified organism. & pesticides is a whole other topic!! If for some reason this explanation of how hybridization and genetically engineering are different, is wrong, please inform me otherwise.

Jon Senn
Jon Senn

Little old ladies? Why not say they're handicapped too? That'll help get your point across. Maybe Monsanto had the cops beat them also. How about a death, that'll really get people going.

Logan Bartley
Logan Bartley

It takes 3 generations to see the full effects of GMO. It started in 1996, so kids born since then will be able to have kids, but most of them will never have grandkids.

Jared Goble
Jared Goble

Don, what you're referring to was just called "farming" before GMOs were invented. You know, the standard way of doing things? Since GMOs were invented and farmers have seen the benefits, GMOs have become the standard way of doing things. Farmers have been manipulating the DNA of their crops for thousands of years. The new ways of manipulating the DNA are more precise than crossing two plants and hoping the beneficial trait is in the offspring and they're much more precise than irradiating seeds, which is something you can do now and still call your crop "organic."

dan_boersma
dan_boersma

 "They are not good for farmers or consumers. Many GMOs won't produce new seeds"


this is not true and never has been:


http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2012/10/18/163034053/top-five-myths-of-genetically-modified-seeds-busted





 "and the companies enforce strict policies that you cannot retain any seeds for future use."


Which is no different than the vast majority of non-gmo seeds and this practice has been in place since the 1930's:


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plant_Variety_Protection_Act_of_1970



" In the end they are more expensive and who benefits? Monsanto and other GMO companies."


And farmers, why else would they adopt the use of GM crops in an open market?  It's not like farmers are forced to buy GM seed.  Or do you think farmers are all too stupid to make smart purchasing decisions?





" The costs are passed to consumers. It's simple math."


Yes, the lower costs for farmers due to lower inputs/higher yields are passed on to consumers as lower prices for food than otherwise would be




" I bet you're also ignorant to the several lawsuits farmers have against these companies. You are either like the rest of the sheep being led to slaughter or you're a wolf in sheep's clothing trolling on behalf of GMO labels. Either way, I'm not interested in anything but facts."


If you were really interested in facts than are you willing to change your mind based on the factual and verifiable information that I've just given you?  Anyone?  Bueller?

dan_boersma
dan_boersma

"Hybrids are created by crossing two plants of the same species, meaning corn crossed with corn or strawberries crossed with strawberries."


Strawberries were created, genetically modified as it were, by crossing plant  of 2 entirely different species.  That simple fact rather undercuts your whole argument...


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strawberry

dan_boersma
dan_boersma

How would you possibly know that it takes 3 generations to see the effects???You are wrong based on , well, simple rules of logic


And, well evidence.  Plenty of cows and pigs that have no problem procreating after more than 3 generations.  

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