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The Moral And Ethical Concerns With The

Use Of Genetically Modified Crops Essay, Research Paper

Background Ethics

= ?The study of the moral value of human conduct and the rules and

principles that govern it?1. Moral values of a certain topic can vary between

different people, this often leads to conflict. This has happened to the

Genetically Modified (GM) foods debate. The definition of Genetically modified foods from

the EC novel foods regulation is ?a food which is, or which is made from,

a genetically modified organism?containing genetic material or protein

resulting from the modification?17. Society has to decide what is deemed to be right and

the power to say where it is also wrong in a particular case. ?Ethical

decisions involve weighing up risks against the benefits?1.

The morals of an individual rely on their ?feeling rather than facts?1

of a situation. Areas of

discussion The views of the

general public on GM foods The role of the media

in the GM debate Scientific findings and

conclusions about GM foods and companies which are pro-GM 1.

The views of the general public on GM foods There

has always been great opposition to the idea of ?Frankenstein foods?2

by the public. This is greatly due to the public not understanding what a GM

crop consists of. The majority of people don?t like the idea of GM crops

because of many reasons. Some people think that the biotechnology companies are

in the business purely for money, ?It?ll make the rich people a lot

richer?a disgraceful way to make money?3. Other people are ?not

happy to eat them unless a lot more testing is done on them?4.

Religious groups feel very strongly about GM foods, they want nature to run

without human interference and also the feeling that ?you shouldn?t mess

with what God designed, humans aren?t the creator?5.? Not all of the public have the view that ?people

do not want its[the department of environment] food?6, there

are also some neutral feelings about GM foods that adopt the ?if you can?t beat

?em, join ?em? approach as they realize that they have ?probably been

eating them for years?7, which is true because sources have

shown that ?It is very likely that you have eaten food with at least

traces of GM ingredients?8. Clearly the majority is against the widespread

production and introduction of GM foods into our society. Friends of the earth,

(bearing in mind their biased view on the GM debate) believe that ?It

seems that the only people not convinced by the arguments against GM food are

the government and the GM food industry themselves?9. Aside

from the hype from Biased environmental companies there are still genuine

reasons for opposing GM foods. Two of the main fears of GM food technology are

?it will make people ill and?it will damage the earth?s fragile

eco-system?the scientific evidence on these two issues is inconclusive?10.

Scientists are now able to produce crops that are ?herbicide

tolerant?insect resistant?virus resistant?16. This is a

benefit as it enables the farmer to spray herbicide over crops without the

important crops being damaged. The public have fears against this because it is

thought that the ?herbicide-resistant crops will ?sterilise? fields

leaving them empty of plants for birds and insects to feed on?18.Although the public approve of GM sources to be used

in medicine, as a survey shows that ?74% of parents in England would let

their child undergo gene therapy?1, the public still don?t

want to eat it.??? 2.

The role of the media in the GM debate The

public seem to be swayed by television, radio and newspaper articles about GM

crops. ?Before spring 1999 there were very few media articles about GM?1.

There now seems to be an article in every other newspaper about it. The

newspapers can now ?name and shame? test site of GM crops. This could lead

Greenpeace activists to destroy the sites like 26 July 1999 when 28 people made

a ?dawn raid on a six-acre GM maize crop?11. Media can

be to blame for the hype surrounding GM crops. This is because ethics rather

than facts were emphasised as main points in many articles. The media plays a

key role in every aspect of the GM debate. Some papers perceive things in

different ways. An example of this is a Telegraph headline reads ?Mr.

Blair says ?I eat GM food and it is safe??1, whilst the

mirror reports on the same story reads ?Fury as the Prime Monster says ?I

eat Frankenstein food and it is safe??1. ????????? The government use the media to

portray their messages across the nation. These include reassurances that GM is

good and to ?keep an open mind?It[GM] has the potential to deliver real

benefits to people.?12. 3.

Scientific findings and conclusions about GM foods and companies that are

pro-GM?? ?There

are 3 government departments and 7 advisory committees involved?the threat to

birds was not picked up by any of them?13. The GM companies

have backing from the government. The government are currently conducting

trials on various farms around the countries. This is good because ?we

need more research, not less?14 and ?If we are not

allowed to do experimental trials on GM crops, we shall never know the bad

things or good things about them?14. ????????? The scientific findings of GM foods

seem to be somewhat inconclusive. ?Scientists do not know all the answers

and should not claim to.?14. Scientist have found ?no

current evidence to suggest that the GM technologies used to produce food are

inherently harmful?15. Analysts have come up with possible

health effects towards humans these hazards include ?the inserted gene

may?produce an allergic reaction?. It may alter the way genes express

themselves?. Consumption?may alter the balance of existing micro-organisms in

the human gut?19.Summary There

are two extreme views about GM crops.?

The positive view taken by the government and the GM companies. There is

also the stronger negative view held by the media, the public and environmental

awareness companies. ????????? Can the modified foods produce

solutions to hunger, or are the GM companies just trying to make even more

money? We will never know. ????????? The main fact is that GM foods are not

wanted in this society, but we don?t have much choice as we are already eating

the modified Soya and maize, this is not helped by poor labelling of products. ????????? My view remains fairly neutral, that

there is no point fussing about the choice of our foods in the supermarkets and

to think about others that are less fortunate than ourselves. The promises made

by the super rich GM companies to try and combat this problem don?t seem to be

working so they should just let nature do its thing. We have survived until now

without GM products so there is no great need for them. The

public don?t have a great choice on this subject, even if it is against their

morals and principles. It is the people in power who make the decisions.??? References 1).Ethics

in biotechnology, 1. What is ethics?, www.gre.ac.uk/~ws02/GM_foods/ethnic.html2).A

mirror newspaper headline adapted from ?Ethics in biotechnology?


interviewee who wished not to be named, BBC online-GM foods, what people think,

8th October 1999.4).Abbie

Redland, BBC online-GM foods, what people think, 8th October 1999.5).Andrew

Parker BBC online-GM foods, what people think, 8th October 1999.6).?GM

food protests?, Thursday September 21 2000 the guardian newspaper7).George,

BBC online-GM foods, what people think, 8th October 1999.8).Am

I eating GM foods?? BBC online-GM foods,

8th October 1999.9).

What can you do? www.foe.co.uk/food_and_biotechnology/gm_food/ 10).

Is GM food harmful? BBC online-GM foods, 8th October 1999.11).

?GM food protests? Thursday September 21, 2000 the guardian newspaper12).

Message from the ministers ? www.gm-info.gov.uk/1999/message.htm

- official government GM website.13).

?Government failure? ? national campaigns/ briefings ? www.foe.co.uk 14).

?They were wrong?, Sunday September 24, 2000 the guardian newspaper.15).

Paragraph 7, ?Health implications of genetically modified foods? Professor Liam

Donaldson and Sir Robert May, May 199916).

Paragraph 8, uses of Genetic modification ?Health implications of genetically

modified foods? Professor Liam Donaldson and Sir Robert May, May 199917).

Paragraph 11, uses of Genetic modification ?Health implications of genetically

modified foods? Professor Liam Donaldson and Sir Robert May, May 199918).

?Real food? – www.foe.co.uk/food_and_biotechnology/gm_food/ 19).

Paragraph 26, ?Health implications of genetically modified foods? Professor

Liam Donaldson and Sir Robert May, May 1999.