To the editor of THE EAGLE:
An open letter to my congressman, Chris Gibson: Dear Congressman Gibson, Thank you for your thoughtful response of June 2 to my letter asking for your support of H.R. 1699, the Genetically Engineered Food Right to Know Act which declares a food misbranded if it contains or was produced with a genetically engineered material, unless its labeling contains statements meeting specified requirements and also requires the testing of all foods distributed on a commercial basis.
In your response, you said, in part, "As you know, biotechnology provides farmers with tools that can make agriculture production less expensive, easier to manage, and limits the need for additional add-ons in the field. Biotechnology may also be used to conserve natural resources, improve nutrition, enable animals to more effectively use nutrients, and help meet the increasing world food and land demand." I’m not so sure that products like Monsanto’s Round Up conserve natural resources when you include what its continued use does to lakes and rivers with its runoff, not to mention the land itself in the long haul. I also understand that as time goes by it becomes increasingly less effective as weeds develop a resistance to it. Further, I believe the high suicide rate among peasant farmers in India illustrates that these methods are unaffordable by many of the world’s most desperate people trying to feed their families and themselves.
In your Memorial Day newsletter, you mentioned that an item you authored will provide better medical care to veterans suffering from the effects of Agent Orange. You obviously felt good about that achievement, as do I. Such good feelings are the same for all of us. We feel proud of the things we believe we have done well and are willing to let others judge the merit of our deeds as they see fit.
However, the GMO industry operates counter to this premise. If they were proud of their products, they would put them forth in free competition with other products and let consumers decide which they wished to purchase.
Instead, they spend millions of dollars trying to suppress the public’s ability to learn which edible items contain their GMOs as that would let the public, of their own free will, choose to eat their commodities or avoid them. Thus, the GMO industry’s greed prevents it from acting in a way that shows its members believe in the viability of their products in free competition.
They spend millions of dollars to persuade those of you in Washington of the validity of their greed-based premises. These are sums we voters cannot likely match. However, there and more of us than there are of them and we can all vote.
DONALD N. LATHROP