Letters

Consumer choice concerning GMOs is different in US, EU

Regarding your Feb. 13 editorial, "Consumer choice and 'Frankenstein foods' ": It is a ridiculous assumption that we Americans have embraced genetically modified organisms (GMOs), and the Europeans are the ones who are out of line to want to keep GMOs out of the European Union.

Nearly every single effort to require that GMOs be labeled as such on consumer packaging has been quashed in our legislatures. But if someone put a couple pallets of genetically modified corn at a Wal-Mart with a big sign in front of them stating what they are, I doubt the corn would sell at more than 10 ears for a dollar (assuming it sells at all). I conjecture that the much touted "American acceptance" of GMOs is based on blissful ignorance and not educated discernment.

Meanwhile, US health-food stores are busy selling organic produce to those who are aware of and careful about what they eat.

Many farmers already produce such a surplus of corn, they figure the only way to get rid of it is to turn it into gasoline. Global hunger has never been an issue of a worldwide shortage of food as much as it is an issue of regional shortages due to drought, pestilence, or war, in which case many of the GMOs are no more likely to prosper than their alternatives.
Julian Quist
Fort Worth, Texas

Much of the research done in the area of the safety and repercussions of genetically modified organisms is done by or funded by the very corporations that produce and benefit from the sale of GMOs. What little independent research is done is often challenged by those corporations on the basis of trade infringement.

A great many "what ifs" go unchallenged and unanswered. In addition, the pollen spread from these GM crops is also problematic, at best, and dangerous, at worst.

If we make mistakes with genetic modifications, it will be too late when we discover them to take them back. What then? Don't EU countries have the right to regulate their food sources in an effort to protect their populations?
Kathy Popa
Oroville, Calif.

The US should ease school-fee burden

Thank you for your Feb. 2 article, "School-fee burden eases in Africa." These fees pose an insurmountable barrier to education for the poorest children and crush any hopes they may have for better lives.

The US must do more to help impoverished nations eliminate fees. A suitable vehicle for such assistance would be the president's Millennium Challenge Account (MCA), which so far has produced negligible results.

By announcing an "Education for All" initiative within the MCA to help nations drop school fees, President Bush could lead the world closer to attaining the Millennium Development Goal of seeing to it that every child is given a seat in the classroom.
Steve Valk
Atlanta

Praise for an accidental activist

I was inspired by the Feb. 8 article, "Donkey deliverance," on Lucy Fensom, the former flight attendant turned activist for donkeys in the Middle East. In an area where donkeys are "barely seen as animals," she has taken on the task of rescuer and educator. Her reason: "First, I believe that when you set an example of compassion for animals, you also breed compassion for humans," and "by helping working donkeys at clinics, you're also helping their owners." What a wonderful outreach of compassion.
Patricia Watts
Scottsdale, Ariz.

The Monitor welcomes your letters and opinion articles. Because of the volume of mail we receive, we can neither acknowledge nor return unpublished submissions. All submissions are subject to editing. Letters must be signed and include your mailing address and telephone number. Any letter accepted will appear in print and on our website, www.csmonitor.com.

Mail letters to 'Readers Write,' and opinion articles to Opinion Page, One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115, or fax to (617) 450-2317, or e-mail to Letters.

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