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PRI's Environmental News Magazine

Listener Letters

Air Date: Week of October 8, 1999

Our series on Salmon and Society in the Pacific Northwest continues to draw strong responses. We also received a lot of comments on last week's call from a Tennessee farmer who defended genetically-engineered food.

Transcript

CURWOOD: Time again for listener comments.

(Music up and under)

CURWOOD: Responses to our series on Salmon and Society in the Pacific Northwest continued to dominate our mailbag.

Bruce Lovelin of the Columbia River Alliance writes, "Your story on efforts to recover salmon is one of those worn-out, dams-versus-salmon stories that does little to inform listeners of anything new. There already exists considerable support for saving salmon in all quarters of the Pacific Northwest, including industry. Hundreds of millions are being spent on efforts to improve the dams for successful juvenile and adult salmon passage. And it is an effort we in industry financially support. Where's that message?"

Meanwhile, our report on salmon runs in urban areas drew this response from Brian Buchbinder, who hears us on WBGO in Newark. "Your reference to one hundred years of settlement in describing the Pacific Northwest was simply not correct. Could you have forgotten,” he wrote, “that coast has been settled by Native Americans for thousands of years? And the salmon did just fine. It was only after 150 years of, quote, "settlement" by other Americans -- us, that is -- that the natural resources of the area were degraded."

One comment in last week's listener segment drew a lot of strong reactions. A Tennessee farmer compared genetically-engineered food to specially-bred racehorses, and argued that Europe's refusal to import these foods is nothing but a trade barrier set up against American farm products. But as James Hildreth, who listens to us on New Hampshire Public Radio, pointed out:

HILDRETH: There is a great difference between selective breeding and genetically engineering. The ongoing attempts to merge a flounder gene with a tomato is a far cry from selectively breeding tomatoes for size, color, or flavor.

CURWOOD: Eric Rector, who hears us on Maine Public Broadcasting, wrote, "I believe that rather than being a trade barrier, this case sounds like an attempt by the U.S. government to open markets for campaign contributors and large corporations, despite popular sentiment against genetically-engineered food. After all, shouldn't every society, every person, choose what we put into our mouths?"

That sentiment was echoed by KROU listener and Norman, Oklahoma, resident, John Frazier.

FRAZIER: I don't mind riding a genetically-engineered horse, but I sure don't want to put him inside my system.

CURWOOD: Your questions and comments are always welcome. Call our listener line any time at 800-218-9988. That's 800-218-9988. Our e-mail address is LOE@NPR.ORG.

 

 

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