Thank you for Amy Kerwin's article about retiring laboratory monkeys. ("Giving Back to the Monkeys," 10/12/07). I would ask: If nonhuman primates are so much like us, why would we not believe that they deserve to be free from fear and pain, and why would one suggest that their pain threshold is higher than that of humans?
I would also like to know how exactly humans have benefited from primate research? What groundbreaking discovery has occurred through the use of primate experimentation? This is not a rhetorical question and is open to all who work in this field.
Megan Stapleton, Fitchburg
Organic costs and benefits
I appreciated your story on organic foods ("Natural Allies," 10/19/07), but I felt you left your readers largely uninformed about the pricing of Organic Valley products. Even though I rarely detect a better taste or texture when I use organic products, I still buy them when they are not vastly more expensive than conventional food.
I find that Organic Valley dairy products cost much more than I'm prepared to pay. I would appreciate a follow- up story that spells out just why its milk retails at well over twice the price of conventional milk.
I ask that because the organic farmers you profile say their cows are almost as productive and are longer lived than conventionally raised cows. Their farming techniques are also claimed to be more efficient.
I'm all for a fair price for good food and want farmers to have an adequate and secure income. If I could be shown just why those goals cannot be met at a more appealing price point, I would dig a little deeper to support a worthy endeavor and enjoy a healthier diet.
I feel privileged that I can afford to buy Organic Valley products not just for the health and enjoyment of my family, but as a vote for higher human values.
Clearly CROPP, the farmers' co-op that owns the Organic Valley label, is not just about creating a product for profit but appears committed to supporting an organic lifestyle that is both sustainable for its members and healthy for the environment.
I appreciate that the economic welfare of the farmers and the cooperative takes precedence over the exorbitant profits of the corporate elite. This is not just a pie in the sky ideal either.
In dollars and cents, these farmers do better than many of their neighbors who are tied into the non-sustainable big agri-business system. To me, treating everyone like family with a guarantee of a decent livelihood is what true family values are all about.
In a John Lennon moment, imagine a world economy based on a cooperative spirit where sustainability for all and future generations is valued over a "take all I can get now" greedy ethic.
How wonderful to see Jim and Tom Miller on the cover of the paper! Last year, we featured the Miller Farm and the story of Organic Valley in our film "Back To The Land…Again." We made the film to explain the value of organic agriculture to people who, like many of our acquaintances, felt that buying organic was too expensive.
We wanted people to understand that going organic is beneficial not just for one's personal health, but for the health of the entire community. Thanks for continuing to spread the word with such an extensive and thorough story.
Gretta Wing Miller, Aarick Beher, Downtown Dailies/Blue Studio