As you prepare to study the various resolutions for the coming annual general meeting of your company, being held in St. Louis 24th January, 2012, I ask you to take into consideration the history of your company and the policies you have supported at various annual general meetings.
It is a record that very few can be proud of. For example, can you as a shareholder be proud, even satisfied, that your company has been responsible for the deaths of many thousands of Vietnamese, many thousands of abnormal births in Vietnam, and today in Vietnam due to the product manufactured by your company, you have left four million Vietnamese suffering from various illnesses and deformities, and thousands of acres of once magnificent forests destroyed. The product was of course Agent Orange.
At the time you attend the shareholders meeting it will be 51 years ago that Agent Orange was first sprayed over southern areas of Vietnam, August 10, 1961. It is well recorded by international scientists and researchers from a number of countries including the US - what effects Agent Orange has had on the people and land of Vietnam.
There has been and continues to be massive information compiled about the effects of Agent Orange, and not only on the Vietnamese. Ask the Vietnam veterans from the US, Australia, New Zealand, and South Korea, for many of them were also affected by Agent Orange. Many of these veterans are still campaigning in their respective countries for their illnesses to be recognized by their governments as being related to Agent Orange.
Yes, it is a fact that not all the US veterans have been accepted as suffering from Agent Orange. Many have died, as others have been denied a pension or compensation for serving their country. Their relatives could be amongst the many outside the annual general meeting on January 24 seeking answers to the questions they want to raise with your Chairman Mr. Hugh Grant and members of your board. You will see them when you walk into the meeting. Please do not avoid them, but stop and listen to their questions, and please answer if you can.
Your company has for these 51 years refused to accept responsibility and has also refused to make any compensation to the Vietnamese. The word Sorry has not come from the lips of your Chairman, nor has one cent come from the billions of dollars in profit made from Agent Orange. Indeed, it has been you the shareholder that has benefited, in the dividends you have received over the years.
Perhaps among you at the annual general meeting will be Bill and Melinda Gates. It would be interesting to hear if they make any statement that they are satisfied with the record of your company, having purchased 500,000 shares. Perhaps they will seek to ask how they can help Monsanto in its campaign to increase its sales of GM seeds worldwide, another Monsanto product that has cost the lives of thousands of Indian farmers who were forced into debt through the failure of their GM crops. And outside the meeting will be American farmers who do not want GM seeds but a number of them have been taken to court by your company to protect its sales, and in turn, its profits and your dividends.
Are you really proud of your company, one that has cost so many lives, has ruined the lives of so many others in many countries?
So, when it comes to casting your votes, for whom, and for what, will you vote?
Agent Orange Action Group