Readers Write (Feb. 22): Monsanto, Legacy funds, addiction, pickles

  • Article by: LETTERS FROM READERS
  • Updated: February 21, 2013 - 10:30 PM

When did the word “midget” become offensive?

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Patent law

Unjust ruling brews in Monsanto case

Word has it the that the U.S. Supreme Court will rule for Monsanto in the case of Monsanto vs. Bowman. Vernon Hugh Bowman, an Indiana farmer, bought seed from a local distributor. He did not specify wanting Monsanto-engineered seed, but the seed he purchased included some Monsanto seed or Monsanto seed progeny, and Monsanto sued Bowman for patent infringement.

It is the nature of genetically engineered crops and of agriculture itself that a specific variety cannot be contained and after a few generations is ubiquitous in the marketplace. Bowman did not replicate the seed himself, so how could he have infringed on Monsanto’s patent? Monsanto itself reproduced the seed by taking advantage of an attribute of nature. So Monsanto’s suit against Bowman is misdirected; it should be suing nature.

Allowing Monsanto to take advantage of self-replication in nature gives it patent rights in perpetuity for something it did not discover or invent. That proposition is unjust and absurd, and paves the way for corporations to own life itself.

Steven Boyer, St. Paul

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Legacy funds

Council’s advice should generally stand

State Rep. Phyllis Kahn’s article concerning Legacy Amendment funding (“Sorry, but Legacy funding doesn’t bypass Legislature,” Feb. 19) actually made a strong case validating Dennis Anderson’s concern that the Outdoor Heritage Council’s advice “needs to be heeded.”

Granting that the various metro park lands need preservation, the article neglected to acknowledge that most outdoor activities of fishing, hunting and camping take place outside the metro area. The overwhelming majority of our critical habitats, which are the focal point of the Legacy funding, exist across the broad expanses of our state.

If our legislators over the years had exercised better stewardship of our natural resources, there would have been no need for the Legacy Amendment. The sad condition of our wetlands, lakes and rivers is good evidence for keeping the Legacy funding priorities at arm’s length from the Legislature, which might be tempted to supplement its own projects and budgets with Legacy funds.

The council makes spending recommendations, which, contrary to Kahn’s assertion, offer balanced representation, careful research and sound science. It should require very unusual circumstances for the Legislature to override their recommendations.

Jerry Raedeke, Nisswa, Minn.

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Addiction

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