Farmers & Consumers Protest at Monsanto’s Headquarters in St.Louis

Farmers & Consumers Protest at Monsanto’s Headquarters in St.Louis

Link at

Missouri Protestors Rally in Front of Monsanto’s Headquarters & at Office
of US Senator Kit Bond

OCA Editorial Note: There is an error in this story. While Monsanto in
previous years had predicted that up to 80% of all US soybeans would be
genetically engineered by this year, according to a USDA press statement in
July, farmers have actually planted a lower percentage of GE soybeans in
2000 as compared to 1999. The USDA announced in early July that this year’s
planting of genetically engineered RoundUp Ready soybeans were down by
approximately 6% from last year’s acreage (last year 56% of all USA
soybeans were GE; while this year the USDA said 53% were GE).

The Associated Press.
August 19, 2000,
Protesters rally outside Monsanto’s corporate offices
Creve Couer, Mo.

Flanked by a huge inflatable ear of genetically-engineered corn, protesters
rallied in front of Monsanto Co.’s corporate campus Friday.

About 150 activists, mostly from Missouri, gathered to protest Monsanto’s
genetically altered crops and seeds. The group was a mix of environmental
activists and family farm coalition members.

“They are promising farmers things they just can’t deliver, specifically
the yield performance (of modified crops),” said Tammy Shea of MoRage, or
Mobilization for Safe Food and Family Farms. “They’re promising reduced use
of pesticides and herbicides, and that’s something that’s just not bearing

The company, a subsidiary of Pharmacia Corp., is a frequent target of those
opposed to biotechnology.

Shea cited a study conducted by researchers at the University of Nebraska
that showed soybeans genetically altered by Monsanto to resist Monsanto’s
herbicide Roundup produced lower yields than conventional soybeans.

The Roundup Ready soybean is one of Monsanto’s best known products. The
company has said the Nebraska study is contrary to the body of research
done on the beans by both Monsanto and independent researchers

“They show the same general lack of understanding and appreciation of the
benefits of biotechnology to agriculture (as past protesters),” said Gary
Barton, a Monsanto spokesman.

Most of those at the protest were members of MoRage or the Gateway Green
Alliance. They stood on either side of the entry to the company’s
headquarters, in a space set aside by the company, holding signs and waving
to passing motorists. One police officer stood nearby, along with several
Monsanto security officers, but there were no altercations.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch
August 19, 2000,


Tina Hesman; Of The Post-Dispatch

* More than 100 activists demonstrate at Monsanto’s headquarters in Creve
Coeur. Later, three are arrested outside Sen. Christopher “Kit” Bond’s
office in Clayton.

Genetically engineered seed is bad business for family farmers. That was
the claim of more than 100 activists who converged on Monsanto’s Creve
Coeur headquarters at noon Friday to protest the company’s production and
sale of genetically engineered seed.

Later, Clayton police arrested three of the demonstrators after further
protests outside the office of Sen. Christopher “Kit” Bond, R-Mo.

Backed by 14-foot-tall puppets of “killer corn” and “corporate giants,” the
activists contended that genetically engineered crops yield less – 11
percent less, says a University of Nebraska study – and cost more than
conventional crops. That’s a combination that could spell disaster for
family farmers, said Bryce Oates of the Missouri Rural Crisis Center.

“With a lower yield, genetically modified crops are going to lose the
economic feasibility contest every time,” Oates said.

According to figures from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 54 percent of
this year’s soybean crop is genetically engineered, up from 47 percent last
year. The department does not keep yield figures separately for genetically
engineered crops, but it predicts overall soybean yields will increase by 4
percent from last year.

Demonstrators contend that corporations like Monsanto and the American
government are indiscriminately promoting genetically modified crops -
known as GMOs – on world markets despite consumer concerns.

“Anyone knows that you’ve got to give the customer what they want, but
we’re not doing that,” said Bill Christison of the National Family Farm
Coalition. Monsanto and the U.S. government are “trying to choke GMOs down
their throats,” he said.

Christison, a soybean farmer from Chillicothe, Mo., was one of a handful of
farmers who participated in the demonstrations.

For organic farmer Janet Morse of Putnam, Ill., genetic engineering of food
crops raises more than economic concerns. “It’s untested. It’s unproven and
it could be unsafe,” Morse said.

Monsanto spokesman Gary Barton said that the protesters were ignoring the
benefits of genetically engineered crops to thousands of farmers around the
world. The company believes that educated farmers and consumers will
embrace the technology, he said.

When the demonstration moved to Bond’s office later in the afternoon, about
50 protesters filled the steps and sidewalk in front of the building at
7700 Bonhomme Avenue and demanded to see the senator.

Flanked by police, Sharon Lentin, a Bond aide, met briefly with protesters
outside the senator’s Clayton office building.

After being denied a meeting with Bond, the demonstrators staged a
spontaneous parade through the streets of Clayton. When the group reached
Bemiston Avenue south of Forsyth Boulevard, the sidewalk and street were
partially blocked by construction. Several marchers began walking in the

After police asked the demonstrators three times to return to the sidewalk,
the officers arrested three of the most vocal protesters. Police Sgt. T.
Stockman told the demonstrators the three were arrested for failing to
follow the reasonable instructions of a police officer.

After chanting demonstrators confronted the handful of police officers,
police Lt. Kevin Murphy spoke with one of the protesters, a man who
identified himself as a St. Louis resident, to resolve the standoff.

“We got some arrests,” the man told fellow protesters. “We wanted some
arrests, we got them.”

The group left.

Said Tammy Shea, a protest organizer: “It’s kind of overkill. We’re a
peaceful group.”

Bond criticizes protest

In a statement, Bond said: “Because the stakes are so high for millions of
people around the world who need extra nutrition and vaccinations, the
biotechnology debate ought to be based on science, not emotion.
Unfortunately, today we saw the emotion, not the science.”

Another activist was arrested Thursday after climbing a utility pole near
Monsanto’s headquarters on Lindbergh Boulevard to unfurl a banner, said
Creve Coeur police.


One Response to “Farmers & Consumers Protest at Monsanto’s Headquarters in St.Louis”
  1. “The only abnormality is the incapacity to love.” ~ Anais Nin

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