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Food supply safe, abundant

Re: Crowd decries seed giant, GMO foods (SundayXtra, May 26). It concerns me to read that some people are so worried about the safety of genetically modified foods that they have taken to the streets.

Canadians have access to one of the safest and most abundant food supplies in the world. All crops, including those that have been genetically modified, are subject to Canada's strict regulatory standards. Extensive safety reviews are completed by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and Health Canada to ensure all crops are safe for people, animals and the environment.

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Crops improved through modern plant breeding enjoy a remarkable food safety record, having been grown for well over a decade and eaten by billions of people worldwide. In fact, regulatory agencies around the world, as well as highly regarded international organizations like the World Health Organization, have all endorsed the safety of these enhanced crops.

Canadian farmers choose to grow genetically improved varieties of corn, canola, soybeans and other crops because they offer many benefits, including increased yields and improved pest control. This is good for farmers but also benefits the environment by allowing farmers to grow more food on less land and leaving valuable green spaces and wildlife intact.

Farmers are also able to minimize or even eliminate tilling the soil to control weeds, which enriches the soil and reduces greenhouse gas emissions.

Consumers benefit at the grocery store by having safe food that's affordable. With the help of plant biotechnology, Canadians save almost 60 per cent on their grocery bills.

LORNE HEPWORTH

CropLife Canada

Ottawa

 

Mastitis common, costly

I feel compelled to respond to Laura Rance's assertion in her May 25 column, Latest round in meat war hits the streets, that our Why Love One But Eat the Other ads contain, in her words, "half-truths."

Rance provides just one example: our assertion that dairy cows suffer from repeated cycles of painful inflammation and infections of the udder (mastitis). Contrary to her denial, Ontario Agriculture states that "mastitis is one of the most common and costly diseases of dairy cattle," and I can provide a dozen photos I've taken at livestock auctions across Canada of cull cows with swollen, infected udders.

In fact, one of the photos of the cows featured on our ad was taken at Winnipeg Livestock Auction. This cow was diagnosed by a provincial veterinarian as having advanced mastitis.

Regarding Rance's claim that our ads contain "gaps in basic knowledge" with the example that "cows aren't castrated, bulls are." "Cow" is the general term for a bovine which the public recognizes. It's interesting that Rance doesn't deny the substance of our argument -- that farm animals are castrated without pain killers -- but instead focuses on semantics.

Regarding a reference to the belief that the campaign originated from "meddling city people," both I and the person who created the ads, Kimberly Carroll, originate from rural Manitoba. I'm from Holland. Kimberly is from Brandon.

Rather than dissecting our argument, why not recognize the fact that all animals -- farmed included -- are feeling, thinking beings worthy of our moral consideration?

TWYLA FRANCOIS

Mercy for Animals Canada

Winnipeg

 

East line already exists

I wonder how many people know there already is a Manitoba Hydro transmission line and corridor on the east side of Lake Winnipeg? It is clearly visible on the satellite images on Internet mapping sites.

This existing transmission line and corridor zigzags north from Pinawa to Bissett, then west down the river valley to the lakeshore at Manigotagan, and finally north, just east of the lake, past the end of the gravel road at Bloodvein, all the way to Poplar River. That is about three-quarters of the way up the east side of Lake Winnipeg.

This transmission line and corridor on the east side of Lake Winnipeg have existed for many, many years. It has not jeopardized the UN heritage listing, it has not caused unsightly development, and experts still consider the environment on the east side to be in pristine condition.

It seems to me that if the new Bipole III were built on the east side of Lake Winnipeg, and if it were built as carefully as the existing line, in a few years, no one, including environmental activists, would even notice it was there. And Manitoba taxpayers would save a lot of money.

DAVID SHERLOCK

Winnipeg

 

It's 'Duffygate' for a reason

Carol Goar's May 27 column, That noxious odour is wafting from the PMO, hits the nail on the head.

We have witnessed this noxious approach to governing since the Harper Conservative party has come to power. Here are but a few recent examples: robocalls and other election-related misdeeds; the attempt to make the most recent Senate fiasco disappear with a cash payment; and hyper-partisan attacks on anyone who is opposed to their views.

One of Goar's closing sentences encapsulates it all: "They operate in a milieu where bending rules, covering up and deflecting blame are normal." How many others see a parallel to the modus operandi of former U.S. president Richard Nixon's administration?

MARCEL NORMANDEAU

Winnipeg

 

Separate system unacceptable

Mary Agnes Welch's May 25 feature, Justice for All, completely misses the points and its conclusions are based on illogical premises.

The fact that more than 70 per cent of Manitoba's prison population is First Nations or Métis does absolutely nothing to help me reach the conclusion that we should have a separate justice system, or special considerations within the justice system, for aboriginals.

A separate justice system based on race? In Canada? It is unacceptable to me that my fundamental right to equal protection under the law, as guaranteed by the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, should be violated in an effort to reduce the proportion of natives in jail.

That is certainly a pretty big leap in logic that neither the article nor the accompanying sidebar seems to feel should be addressed.

BRADLEY WALKER

Winnipeg

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 30, 2013 A12

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