Biocentric Ethics Analysis
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There have been debates about GMO’s for decades. While farmers fight for their land and the continuance to produce, farmers were given the option to plant seeds that are genetically modified. The seeds in turn would grow more crops and last longer. The compulsion on the farmers to make ample crops and try to help world hunger would not just cost more for them, but it can also cause lack of trust between the suppliers and the consumers that in turn can lead to law suits, as well. Genetically engineered tomatoes helped reduce the standard methods used to prep, make, and grow crops in 1986. The method made the tomatoes resilient to various herbicides. Farmers started to use bacillus thuringiensis which is an insect killer, in the plants. This did not seem to concern the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) or the Department of Agriculture (DOA) about the new technology. In 1990 when “Forbes article “The Lesser of Two Weevils” was released stating “that cotton farmers in the United States had put 100 million pounds of agricultural chemicals on their crop each year for the last several years” (Newton, Dillingham, Choly, 2006) the media went bonkers over this information.
This caused controversy with the growers, distributors, and the media, arguing whether the altered crops will pose a threat to humans and the ecosystem. Countries we not happy with the carelessness and handling of the crops from the United States. Particularly, Germany did not agree with the United States methods. Other countries that did not use the genetically altered method reported traces of the chemicals in their crops. This transfer usually happens by the weather conditions. Changing of the seasons has many scientists believe the chemical transfer through rain and snow, possibly through insects, wildlife, and plants. When man interferes we must take into consideration of how the altered chemicals may travel and how it could be consumed by humans. Also, the ecosystem that includes the consumers, the sun, and the decomposers becomes fragile. When man changes the DNA of plants it alters Mother Nature work and the ramifications can be irreversible, but can take many years to discover. Furthermore, there has been an increase of obesity that is said to be due to the modifications and hormones in the food. People become perplexed when there is a discussion of GMO’s and non-GMO’s trying to understand the difference and what can be patented. “The preferred approach of the industry has been to use compositional comparisons between GMO and non-GMO crops.
When they are not significantly different the two are regarded as “substantially equivalent,” and, therefore, the GMO food crop is regarded as safe as its conventional counterpart (Arpad, 2001).” When genetically engineered bacteria was thought to enhance the hormones in cows and provide increased milk was claimed by Monsanto, the United Nations did not agree and people began to wonder if the genetically modified foods was a good thing after all. People pay attention to how much money they will make, and will try any new technology, rather than think or care about the dangers these things may pose. Stories showed on TV and aired on the radio on how many farmers lost their farms due to lack of crops from droughts, insects, and no rain, destroying crops. Many people showed empathy for these farmers knowing how tough they have it. There are songs that were made e.g., Rain on a scarecrow, for these historical moments and what our forefathers did in order to survive.
There are some advantages to point out that the third world countries have with the use of genetically modified foods, such as the rice it could have more minerals and vitamins, which helps alleviate nutrient deficiencies. E.g., lack of vitamin A can cause blindness. “Golden” rice containing an unusually high content of beta-carotene (vitamin A) (Whitman, 2000)” was created by some researchers at an institute Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (SFIT) for plant sciences. The disadvantages of GMO’s are that there is no regulation to distribution. It is not a requirement to label the foods, so how do we know what we are eating? Without labeling or regulations how do we know if the food is safe for us to eat? This is when we have to think of health concerns like allergies because genetically modified foods potentially can cause allergic reactions in most people. Out of all the disputes on what may be right or wrong, or what should be used on the crops and or seeds, there is still a question, can the insects land the on chemically altered plants, then travel to other plants dropping any substances that would interfere with the other plants that are not genetically modified?
Newton, Dillingham, Choly, Lisa H, Catherine K, Joanne (2006). Watersheds 4. Thompson Wadsworth. Whitman, Deborah B (2000). Genetically Modified Foods: Harmful or Helpful?. Retrieved from http://www.csa.com/discoveryguides/gmfood/overview.php Pusztai, Arpad (2001). Scarcity of Safety tests. Retrieved from Genetically Modified Foods: Are They a Risk to Human/Animal Health? Retrieved from http://www.actionbioscience.org/biotech/pusztai.html