Readers Write: (Dec. 1): Agriculture, nurses, MnSCU faculty

  • Updated: November 30, 2013 - 4:56 PM

Discussing the rise of companies, including one that lasted longer than writer seems to believe.

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AGRICULTURE commentary

Control Data reference was off the mark

Bonnie Blodgett (“Agriculture’s deal with the dark side,” Nov. 24) makes a misleading comment by saying “Job-creating tech start-ups like Control Data (which would shortly go bust) were the big story back then.” I’m not sure when “back then” was, but she makes it sound like the company must have lasted all of a year or two, when it actually started up in 1957, thrived through the early 1980s and survived nearly 40 years into the ’90s, employing as many as 80,000 of us worldwide at its peak, injecting hundreds of millions of dollars annually for many years into the Twin Cities economy selling products and services throughout the world.

WAYNE QUALLEY, Burnsville

• • •

Full marks to the Star Tribune and to Blodgett. We have industrialized agriculture to produce outcomes that favor the corporate interests over and above public health, food safety and environmental concerns. A few companies like Monsanto profit handsomely at the public expense. Genetically modified organisms are present in many if not most processed foods, yet corporations fight aggressively to avoid even labeling these products.

Surveys show overwhelmingly that people want to know what they are eating. Why not label? It will cost money, and companies fear they will lose sales. Independent studies show that GMOs have not reduced the need for fertilizer and pesticides as promised, and there are alarming concerns about potential health effects. Colin Tudge wrote in the Independent Science News: “The real point behind GMOs is to achieve corporate/big government control of all agriculture … and this will be geared not to general well being but to the maximization of wealth.”

TOM THISS, Excelsior

• • •

Yes, indeed, genetically modified seeds are a dark side to modern agriculture. Even darker is the treatment of farm animals — for example, gestation crates for mother pigs, excessive use of chemicals, unwholesome food supply for the animals, confined conditions and terrorizing transport to “harvest.” We can do better — now, not later.

SHARON FORTUNAK, Cottage Grove

‘WHEN NURSES FAIL’

Give public credit for understanding scrutiny

I’ve been following the series about nurses who keep their jobs even after repeated abuses and am baffled by the vitriolic response to those articles because they supposedly shed a bad light on all nurses (“Nurses union calls series of reports a ‘smear campaign’,” Nov. 21). Does that mean we should not point out police brutality because it will make all police officers look bad? Or report fraudulent charities because it will undermine the good most are doing?

For those who are offended, do you deny that these accusations are correct? Do you want them swept under the carpet because offending some in the profession is worse than the damage they are doing to their patients? Simply writing it off as “they have a disease” does not excuse what’s been happening.

Are we supposed to stop reporting all crimes and abuses of power because it might offend others and potentially taint an entire group? As for the last argument, let’s hope the public has enough sense to realize that abuses happen in all professions and that no industry or profession should be beyond scrutiny for fear of offending the whole.

PAM POMMER, Bloomington

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