Gateway Green Alliance
P.O. Box 8094, St. Louis MO 63156
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or T4shea@aol.com
For Immediate Release: April 24, 1999
Gateway Greens dump milk as Shapiro and Monsanto stockholders watch
Security Outnumbers Environmentalists 100 to 1
April 24, 1999. St. Louis, Missouri. As Monsanto CEO Robert Shapiro addressed the company's annual stockholders meeting, Gateway Green Alliance (GGA) member Steve Cassilly stood up, saying, "I would like to talk about labeling of genetically altered food.
"I will get to that later," Shapiro retorted.
"We need to discuss it now!" Cassilly insisted. "There are real safety concerns about Monsanto's refusal to label its genetically altered food. This is being voiced by people all over the world....And your company wants to deny them their rightful choice.. If your food products are so great why don't you advertise them as genetically enhanced?"
Shapiro refused to answer the question. Cassilly continued to prod him, "Hey Bob, I would like an answer to my question." In protest Cassilly then poured a container of milk onto the carpet saying loudly, "This is what I think of your hormones in our milk." His action referred to the Monsanto produced rBGH (recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone), which is injected into cows to increase milk production. Many independent health experts believe the hormone is responsible for health threats to both cows and people. The future of rBGH is dubious, as the US remains the only industrialized country allowing its use.
Stockholders watched as Cassilly then dismissed himself from the meeting escorted by a number of security personnel and eventually by local authorities.
During discussion, one shareholder, a farmer, voiced concern about the closed market in Europe and the announcement by Archer Daniels Midland not accepting genetically modified crops. He also added that he was troubled by the huge benefits and compensation being given to board members while dividends remained almost non-existent. Shapiro glossed over the market issue and replied, "We are working very hard at this company, we're not just sitting around smoking cigars," referring to the amount of money executives are making.
Some stockholders commented on the intense levels of security. One asked Shapiro, "With so many guards, how did those people ever manage to throw a pie in your face?"
According to Tammy Shea, the other Gateway Green present, "With over 200 security guards, they outnumbered Steve and me 100 to 1. There was a lot of confusion created when the meeting was changed from its announced location at Monsanto World Headquarters to the Solutia compound. The supposedly independent Solutia separated from Monsanto in 1998. "Guards followed me wherever I went," she noted. Monsanto security had attempted to block her entrance into the meeting. When she connected them by phone to her stockbroker, they reluctantly stood back. Shea felt that "A lot of stockholders are worried. Clearly the topic of what to do about the European markets not being completely open to genetically modified imports is a touchy one with Shapiro and shareholders. When I asked Shapiro to offer further opinion on that subject, his response created an unsettled feeling that was clear to everyone."
Outside Monsanto World Headquarters, two dozen GGA members picketed and chatted with reporters. Asked why they were there, Don Fitz explained "We want to urge Monsanto stockholders to consider the viability of a company which is putting all of its effort into genetic engineering at the same time the technology is being protested throughout the world."
The environmental group is particularly concerned with the high levels of cancer-causing Insulin-like Growth Factor (IGF-1) in milk. GGA spokesperson Daniel Romano stated "It is clear that cows injected with rBGH release IGF-1 into their milk. When people drink this milk, they have an increased risk of colon, breast and prostate cancer."
The Gateway Green Alliance is a chapter of the Missouri Green Party and the Greens/Green Party USA, one of several organizations participating in the "Global Days of Action Against Genetic Engineering." During April 22-28, demonstrations and teach-ins are being held in the US, Canada and Europe.
For more information:
Contact: Tammy Shea, 314-458-5026 (voice/fax); Don Fitz, 314-727-8554