The desire for organic food outweighs the health risks posed by mosquitoes over in Hotchkiss, where an 81-year-old rancher has been ordered to spend a few days in jail and pay a hefty $7,500 fine for trying to protect his family against the West Nile virus, according to the Denver Post.
James Hopper’s wife nearly died of the disease, so the rancher tried to protect her by getting the necessary training and permits to spray his farm because his neighbor, whose husband suffered from leukemia had essentially shut down the Paonia Mosquito Control District from doing so across the region.
(Gordon) MacAlpine suffers from a form of leukemia, court documents show. He and (Rosemary) Bilchak began farming to be able to eat healthier, pesticide-free food, dreading pesticide residues that could suppress Mac Alpine’s immune system.
This may sound harsh, but there is clear evidence that mosquitoes carry the West Nile virus, and that stores sell organic vegetables and fruit.
A greenhouse would have also solved their fears that pesticides were drifting over from the neighboring ranch, and quite frankly, a mosquito carrying West Nile virus could do a lot of damage to a leukemia patient.
It’s frustrating that the needs of the many were outweighed in Delta County by the perceived needs of one person.
The rancher is going to jail because he violated an order to stop the spraying and he’s appealing that decision. We wish him luck.