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Readers' views for March 11, 2011

Published on March 11, 2011 3:01AM

Last changed on April 8, 2011 7:38AM

Outlaw genetically modified crops

If my dog was killing my neighbor's calves, sheep or goats, or if my bull or stallion was getting over and fraternizing with my neighbor's herds, there would be no quarrel about my responsibility. If there were damages I could be held liable.

On Jan. 27 the United States Department of Agriculture announced its decision to remove immediately all planting restrictions on two varieties of genetically modified alfalfa. Several annual crops had already been awarded freewheeling status.

The genetic drift from a genetically modified crop planted on my property could cause damages to my neighbor far exceeding that of a marauding dog. I understand the law today relieves me of any responsibility for any damages.

I believe the principle involved in these two illustrations is the same. I believe the growing of genetically modified crops should be outlawed.

Vernon Stokes

Ellensburg, Wash.

'Above and beyond' organic?

I have been involved in agriculture for over 30 years and am a longtime subscriber to Capital Press. The article in the Feb. 25 edition on Page 3 titled "'We're above and beyond organic'" had some serous problems and is simply not true.

With the past quality of your paper I thought, this might be an oversight? First of all, how can a grower be above and beyond organic when they are not even organic? The grower admits to not feeding organic feed so they are not organic, period. So it is ridiculous then to say "above and beyond organic" -- these are just buzzwords to sell product. The word "organic" should not be used to describe anything but organic, and the word organic is federally protected and should not even be used unless a product is truly organic.

The grower also says she farms under the principles of Joel Salatin. Joel is great, I have read many of his books and articles and can't say I disagree with much. However, Joel does the same thing and says that he is beyond organic when in fact he is not, and feeds conventional feed and thus participates in the very system that he vilifies to his own profit. It's hypocrisy at best. Their pasture-based production takes things to another level and is great for the animals, the grower and the consumer as it's healthier for all, but their use of wording seems to deceive the very consumer they proclaim to protect from the evil food system and make themselves look better than they are.

The grower also addressed GMOs as a stumbling block to organic when the only way to ensure not feeding GMOs is to have organic feed. I question their margins as causing nearly a 100 percent markup on product if they went organic? It would increase costs by a third at most and most likely about 25 percent, as pasture-based chickens take one-third of their diet from the grass itself. If they would feed organic feed they would have the best product on the planet and would really have something to crow about.

Mark Peterson

Redding, Calif.


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