Gmo science and ethics


Published on

Published in: Education, Technology, Spiritual
  • Be the first to comment

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

Gmo science and ethics

  1. 1. GMO science, BSE, ethics
  2. 2. A Moral Code for a Finite World By HERSCHEL ELLIOTT and RICHARD D. LAMM The Chronicle November 15, 2002• The ethics of the commons builds on Hardin’s idea that the best and most humane way of avoiding the tragedy of the commons is mutual constraint, mutually agreed on and mutually enforced.• Humans cannot have a moral duty to deliver the impossible, or to supply something if the act of supplying it harms the ecosystem to the point where life on earth becomes unsustainable.• Moral codes, no matter how logical and well reasoned, and human rights, no matter how compassionate, must make sense within the limitations of the ecosystem; we cannot disregard the factual consequences of our ethics.
  3. 3. Moral code• If acting morally compromises the ecosystem, then moral behavior must be rethought. Ethics cannot demand a level of resource use that the ecosystem cannot tolerate.• Many activities are right -- morally justified -- when only a limited number of people do them. The same activities become wrong -- immoral – when populations increase, and more and more resources are exploited.• A Moral Code for a Finite World• By Richard Lamm Volume 14, Number 3 (Spring 2004)• 1403/article_1223.shtml
  4. 4. Fighting GMO Labeling in California is Food Lobby’s Highest Priority•• In case you had any doubt that California’s Prop 37—which would require labeling of food containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs)—is a significant threat to industry, a top food lobby has now made it perfectly clear.• In a recent speech to the American Soybean Association (most soy grown in the U.S. is genetically modified), Grocery Manufacturers Association President Pamela Bailey said that defeating the initiative “is the single-highest priority for GMA this year.”
  5. 5.• GMO Corn Headedfor US Supermarket Shelves• News• Genetically engineered sweet corn from Monsanto is headed for Walmart store shelves, the first GE product to travel from farms directly to consumer plates.• Other Monsanto GE foods have first been processed into animal feed, sugars, oils, fibers and other ingredients found in a wide variety of conventional food, says Beyond Pesticides.• And you wont even know it, since there is no federal labeling requirement for GMO foods in the US. The most recent attempt at labeling was removed from the Farm Bill in late June when Congress succumbed to corporate lobbyists.
  6. 6. Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch 10/24/02 SCOTTS PUTS PLANS FOR SLOW-GROWING GRASS ON HOLD; Company, partner hope to answer regulators questions, try next year BY: Michael Hawthorne• Scotts officials are convinced that homeowners and golf- course operators would be eager to pay for grass that grows slowly, withstands weed killers and requires less water.• Allison Snow, a professor at Ohio State University conducted a study with researchers from the University of Nebraska and Indiana University, found that genes artificially inserted into crop plants to fend off pests can migrate to weeds and make them stronger.•
  7. 7. Biotech grass & Lawns Associated Press New York Times 10/24/02 Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch 10/24/02 • Researchers at an Oregon seed company reported last year on tests of genetically altered grass that genes from the altered plants routinely spread to other varieties, and pollen containing the genes spread farther than researchers had predicted. • The makers of a grass genetically designed to help keep golf courses free of weeds have withdrawn their application to begin selling it after getting several questions from the Agriculture Department.
  8. 8. Biotech grass & Lawns .cfm Associated Press New York Times 10/24/02 Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch 10/24/02• Scotts Co. and Monsanto Co., developed the biotech grass through a joint venture, said they will submit a new application next year. A spokesman for the USDAs Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, said the letter was part of the routine review process and was not prompted by biotechnology critics (The International Center for Technology Assessment) who complained the creeping bentgrass, can be a weed and that giving it resistance to Roundup would make it harder to kill and that the herbicide tolerance gene might spread to other grassy weeds.
  9. 9. Biotech grass & Lawns Press New York Times 10/24/02 Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch 10/24/02• "People who want to control it will have to use more harmful chemicals, and (the grass) can invade into plantations of other turf grasses," he said. environmentalists and the American Society of Landscape Architects have petitioned the Agriculture Department for more independent research• Jim King, a spokesman for Scotts, said that creeping bentgrass was not a type suitable for consumer lawns and would not be sold that way.
  10. 10. Ethics in Animal Science Annual Meeting 2002• The Animal Production industry has succeeded in its aim to produce lots of good, cheap food.• The industrialisation of animal production has created new problems for human health, animal health and welfare, and environmental pollution.• The new role for animal science is to protect life from the perils of mindless productivity. To achieve this we must be wedded to science (and supported in our marriage), not the trophy mistress of industry.• Animal science lacks panoramic vision. Scientists are always directed to focus. An unnecessary exhortation since many have acquired tunnel vision by the completion of their PhDs.
  11. 11. UK Government Systematically Lied to the British Public About the Mad Cow Epidemic• LONDON, Oct. 26 2000 - For 10 years, British officials consistently misled the public by deliberately playing down the possibility that mad-cow disease could be transmitted to humans, an official report said today.• The 4,000-page report cost $42 million and was published after a three-year investigation. It took care not to blame anyone but severely criticized the "culture of secrecy" of the governments response to a crisis that forced the slaughter of almost four million cows and led to the deaths so far of 77 Britons. The disease is thought to be caused by putting animal protein into cow feed, a practice since banned.
  12. 12.
  13. 13. • In addition to the 77 who have died, seven people are known to be suffering from a variant of Creutzfeldt- Jakob disease that results in progressive dementia and loss of physical functions, leaving the brain with a spongelike consistency. Mad-cow disease - bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or B.S.E. - is always fatal. Creutzfeldt-Jakob can have an extremely long incubation – 25 years or more - and people who ate infected beef in the early 1980s may be still at risk.• The UK government failed to inform the public about the new evidence because of "a consuming fear of provoking an irrational public scare."
  14. 14. • It was this fear that caused a government veterinary pathologist to label "confidential" his first memo on mad-cow disease in 1986; that led John Gummer, then the agriculture minister, to make a show of publicly feeding a hamburger to his 4-year-old daughter, Cordelia, in 1990;• and that led Britains chief medical officer in 1996 to declare, "I myself will continue to eat beef as part of a varied and balanced diet." At the same time, government policy was marred by bureaucratic bungling, a lack of coordination between departments and the fact that the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food had two somewhat contradictory missions: to protect consumers and to support the beef industry.
  15. 15. Prions• Unlike the Brits the US has prion disease in wild game (deer and elk) as well as "domesticated" herds (elk farms and millions of sheep). The carcasses of infected animals are not burned but are eaten or otherwise enter the food chain in order for ranching profits to be maximized. Prions in the wild: CWD in deer and elk Elizabeth Williams ...
  16. 16. REboot• We cant realistically cull all the potentially infected American sheep and start over again with "clean" herds because the sheep browse the same (usually BLM public land) forage that the prion-infected wild deer and elk browse and would just passage the disease back to the uninfected sheep herds. New York Times, Friday, October 27, 2000 · Deer prions could jump, study says - JSOnline › Features › Health NewsShare
  17. 17. CWD• There is evidence of CWD showing up in young deer and elk hunters, for example, and the spread of infected game herds across growing geographical areas [Colorado, Wyoming and now the Dakotas and game farms all over]) that indicates the problem to be obviously growing; yet it is still publicly and officially ignored apparently out of economic concerns for the hunting and ranching industries with the sad-sack rationalization that sheep and elk/deer prion disease cannot be transmitted to humans...• New York Times, Friday,• October 27, 2000
  18. 18. Captive elk (Courtesy: Ryan Maddox, CDC)About CWDChronic wasting disease (CWD) is a prion disease thataffects North American cervids (hoofed ruminantmammals, with males characteristically having antlers).The known natural hosts of CWD are mule deer, white-tailed deer, elk, and moose. CWD was first identified as afatal wasting syndrome in captive mule deer in Coloradoin the late 1960s and in the wild in 1981. It wasrecognized as a spongiform encephalopathy in 1978. Todate, no strong evidence of CWD transmission to humanshas been reported.
  19. 19. CDC data on age distribution of CJD
  20. 20. Ethics in Animal Science British Society of Animal Science Annual Meeting 2002• Hormonal manipulation of animal production and reproduction was seen as repulsive by European society who then embraced organic or welfare-friendly farming and joined animal welfare and animal rights organisations.• Animal Science should be directed towards understanding the role of farmed and wild animals in maintaining productive, sustainable ecosystems that meet the needs of society and the long- term viability of the living environment.
  21. 21. Eat this or die The poison politics of food aid Mon 30 Sept 2002, ZAMBIA/Lusaka %5fid=40528• Zambian president Levy Mwananwasas rejection this month of US food aid shocked the world: with child malnutrition soaring to 59 percent in his drought- stricken country. The US refused to mill the seed before sending it.• Mwananwasa thinks that the future of his countrys agricultural production is at stake. Africans fear genetic contamination because they can trade on the GE-free value of their grain and organically-raised livestock in profitable EU markets. Yet over the next six months, GMO-laced US supplies will make up at least half of World Food Programme food aid to thirteen million Southern Africans facing severe food crisis. Zambias neighbours Zimbabwe and Malawi accepted milled GE maize.
  22. 22. Eat this or die The poison politics of food aid Mon 30 Sept 2002, ZAMBIA/Lusaka• According to the Bush administration and industry it is the environmentalists who are wrong. Not so. If the choice really was between GE grain and starvation then clearly any food is the preferable option -- but thats a false and cynical picture of the choice. Is the US government acting out of concern for the starving of Africa, or acting on behalf of a multinational industry with a sales and image problem?• Genetically engineered organisms are being forced on Africa because the US cant sell them abroad, has an economic interest in reducing its grain surplus, chooses to deny the existence of non-GE grain supplies, and is developing a deep imperial disdain for the opinions and laws of other countries which contradict their own interests.
  23. 23. Eat this or die The poison politics of food aid Mon 30 Sept 2002, ZAMBIA/Lusaka• Corn exports to the EU dwindled from 426 million dollars in 1995 to one million dollars in 1999.• The US government has increasing surpluses of corn and soy. Since 1996, the US has been subsidising exports by dumping these genetically engineered surpluses into the UN World Food Programme (WFP). Countries getting GM food aid in the past two years - often in breach of national regulations - include the Philippines, India, Bolivia, Colombia, Guatemala, Nicaragua and Ecuador, as well as many African countries. The Genetic Engineering industrys bet is that starvation will overcome many "developing" countries resistance to genetically engineered food and they will inevitably plant them, even if it violates their countrys regulations.
  24. 24. • The government of Mexico learned this lesson the hard way. They forbid the planting of genetically engineered maize. But they did import such maize as food aid some of which was illegally planted by campesinos in need of seed. Researchers later discovered that genes from the genetically engineered maize had crossed over to conventional plants, contaminating Mexicos globally important centre of diversity for maize. • exico_GMO_corn.html
  25. 25. • While starvation may be Southern Africas greatest immediate threat, GE foods are still an unknown quantity when it comes to health safety. American consumers have served as unwitting guinea pigs for years, but scientists are still debating how to adequately test GE foods for safe human consumption or monitor for effects. No long-term studies exist, and none that consider the state of a malnourished population. The research picture is even murkier when it comes to understanding the effects of genetically engineered organisms on animals and the environment. The British Medical Association (BMA) claimed that GM crop trials in Scotland should be halted immediately as a "precautionary measure" to safeguard public health in a submission to the Scottish Parliaments health committee on Wed 20 Nov 2002. It said that concerns are "serious enough" to justify an immediate end to the trials.
  26. 26. Eat this or die The poison politics of food aid Mon 30 Sept 2002, ZAMBIA/Lusaka• Clear rules for moving GMOs around are violated by the current traffic in GE food aid. The Biosafety Protocol is a UN treaty that obligates signing nations to assess the impact of these crops before they import them. The parties to the London Convention on Food Aid have consistently noted that it is preferable to provide monetary resources, rather than aid-in-kind, to support regional buying of appropriate foodstuffs. The EU allows aid recipients to choose their food aid, buying it locally if they wish. This practise can stimulate developing economies and creates more robust food security.
  27. 27. • Widespread support for Zambia and condemnation of US• A coalition of 184 NGOs (including ISIS) registered their opposition to the way in which USAID is foisting biotechnology on Africa during a time of famine. They support a country’s right to refuse GM food aid and call on USAID to untie its food aid policy to donating GM food in kind.• More than 140 representatives from 26 countries in Africa signed up to a statement from African civil society in support of Zambia’s rejection of GM food aid, and refusing to be used as "the dumping ground for contaminated food".• OECD and the World Bank criticised USAID’s self- serving agenda: "Among the big donors, the US has the worst record for spending its aid budget on itself - 70 percent of its aid is spent on US goods and services."
  28. 28. • Oxfam condemned the distribution of food aid contaminated with GMOs.• UK’s chief scientist David King denounced the United States’ attempts to force the technology into Africa as a "massive human experiment". He questioned the morality of the US’s desire to flood genetically modified foods into African countries, where people are already facing starvation in the coming months.• Director-general of the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), Jacques Diouf, said: "We don’t need GMOs to feed the 800 million people who are hungry in the n3/v14n3a06-novy.htm world today."
  29. 29. • Jean Ziegler, UN official said, "Genetically modified organisms could pose a danger to the human organism and public health in the medium and long term. The argument that GMOs are indispensable for overcoming malnutrition and hunger is not convincing."• James Clancy, president of Canadas National Union of Public and General Employees said, "[A]ll some folks in the US government and business communities can think of is how to make even more money off [Africa’s] suffering"• Dr Charles Benbrook, leading US agronomist and former Executive Director of the Board on Agriculture for the US National Academy of Sciences, said, "There is no shortage of non-GMO foods which could be offered to Zambia and to use the needs of Zambians to score "political points" on behalf of biotechnology was "unethical and indeed shameless".• Carol Thompson, a political economist at Northern Arizona University, commented, "It is highly unethical not to just cover the costs for milling. Tell me how much it costs to drop one bomb on Afghanistan. Who is starving whom here?“
  30. 30. 2459903.stm• Roger Moore, goodwill ambassador for UNICEF, said, it was "inhumane" for the US to refuse other aid to Zambia, because of its rejection of GM food.• Many countries have given non-GM and financial assistance. According to Zambian government sources, South Africa sent 10 000 tonnes, and China, 4 000 tonnes of non GM maize. EU gave €15 million to purchase non-GM food. Japan also proffered financial assistance. (See Norfolk Genetic Engineering Network website for details
  31. 31. Starving Zambians turn to poison plants in desperation By Basildon Peta in Chimbe, Zambia The Independent 09 November 2002• With desperation among the rural population intensifying, people have started using the elderly as guinea pigs to test untried and potentially poisonous varieties of roots.• This must be a person who is already too ill either because of hunger, disease or age that he is going to die sooner or later anyway. If he lives after eating the roots, we then feed them to the children. If he dies, we wont," Mr Hamonga added.• Other villagers experimented with the roots in a nearby small dam before it dried up because of lack of rain. They spread the roots on top of the water. Every living creature in the dam perished.• By the time we reach the home of the Malambo family, a group of about 100 women and children has already assembled. They think we have come to distribute food. "If they had known that you are only here to hear stories of our suffering, they wouldnt have assembled."
  32. 32. US to give hungry Zambia food despite GM spat Reuters ZAMBIA: December 9, 2002 d/18938/story.htm• The United States, while condemning Zambias rejection of genetically- modified food to save its people from starvation, was reported last week to have promised the country 30,000 tonnes of unmodified grain.• "I am pleased to announce that the United States has secured 15,000 tonnes of sorghum and 15,000 tonnes of wheat to help Zambia in this time of need," the government-owned Zambia Daily Mail quoted U.S. ambassador in Lusaka Martin Brennan as saying.• US ambassador to the United Nations food agencies Tony Hall chiefly targeted Zambia on Thursday when he said leaders refusing food aid should be put on trial. "People that deny food to their people, that are in fact starving people to death, should be held responsible...for the highest crimes against humanity in the highest courts in the world," Hall said in Brussels.
  33. 33. Why academe gets no respect The Chronicle Nov 22, 2002 By BILLIE WRIGHT DZIECHA mixture of idealism, arrogance, and remoteness from the hard realities of the market causes academics to spend other peoples money without concern for the future or consideration for those who pay the bills.When funds are flowing freely a profusion of new projects, programs, centers, and institutes springs up almost overnight. Its a great success story until a budget crisis hits. Then, the story is about support personnel whose jobs are gone, students and faculty members left in the cold.Universities spend state appropriations as the money comes in, without planning for the future. Private institutions are bingeing on donor funds, student tuitions, and what can be shaky endowments. Since state appropriations and undesignated funds from the general budget and many gifts and grants often come with "spend it or lose it" restrictions, there is a disincentive to save money.
  34. 34. Leadership and Ambiguity• Cohen and March, in Leadership and Ambiguity: The American College President, call the "organized anarchy" or "garbage can" structure the diffused authority system of higher education which invites waste and abuse of trust. Unlike businesses that have clearly defined powers structures, universities have such dispersed authority that dozens of separate units regard themselves as virtually independent of a centralized bureaucracy, free to act and spend as opportunities present themselves.
  35. 35. The Chronicle of Higher Education Friday, November 15, 2002 Discipline and Punish By STANLEY FISH• In 2001 the Board of Trustees of my university amended the university statutes by adding a section titled "Severe Sanctions Other Than Dismissal For Cause."• The list of infractions under this section include "engaging in professional misconduct in the performance of university duties or academic activities"; "neglecting or refusing to perform reasonable assigned academic duties"; "acting ... so as to willfully harm, threaten physical harm to, harass or intimidate a visitor or a member of the academic community"; and "willfully damaging, destroying or misappropriating property owned by the university.“• Before this the only sanction a faculty member might suffer was dismissal for cause, and no one had actually been dismissed. This is not surprising since the standard for dismissal is very high.
  36. 36. Grounds for dismissal:You have to have falsified your credentials or been convicted of, or admitted to, a felony or have disappeared from the scene of teaching entirely or have manufactured and sold a controlled substance or physically assaulted a member of the university community or engaged in sexual misconduct so egregious that you are likely to go to jail anyway.And even if there is evidence that you have done one of these things, you are protected against hasty judgment by procedures so elaborate and time consuming that the appropriate officials in your university will either be reluctant to set them in motion or fail to execute them properly… you decide instead to let this cup pass and adjourn to the faculty club. One suspects that the reluctance to act is a principle rooted in something like class prejudice. The idea is that, generally speaking, people like us -- people who have degrees and publications – are "naturally" responsible.
  37. 37. • In a 1994 report, the Senate Subcommittee on Tenure of the University of Michigan Faculty Senate states its belief "that tenure should include certain expectations and responsibilities of the faculty member that rise above the minimal level necessary to avoid dismissal." "We think faculty should be encouraged to meet these responsibilities, but we are uncertain what punishment, if any, is appropriate.“ When someone is not pulling his or her weight, the burden falls to others who will take up the slack but with a (justifiable) sense of unfairness. The entire operation of a department will be deformed as everyone gets into the bad habit of working around the colleague no one is willing to discipline. And the longer a "rogue" faculty member "gets away with it," the more difficult it will be to turn around a situation to which all have contributed. Irresponsible, unprofessional behavior depends for its success on the complicity of those it victimizes or terrorizes. He -- and it is usually though not exclusively a "he" -- becomes stronger every time his behaviour goes unchallenged.
  38. 38. Conduct unbecoming: International code of conduct for biological scientists being considered. The Scientist Inc.,& BioMed Central. Nov 12, 2002. | By Pat HaganUKs Royal Society is developing an international code of conduct establishing ground rules for the responsibilities of biological scientists in ensuring their work is not used for the purposes of warfare or the development of biological weapons.It sets out an ethical framework within which all scientists are expected to work. “It starts with the way research is funded and managed, then to the responsibilities of supervisors, laboratory directors and individual scientists."The Royal Society says many are guilty of "considerable ignorance" about agreements such as the 1972 Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention. Its envisaged the code would also allow for "whistle blowing" on colleagues or bosses.
  39. 39. International code for scientistsIts also likely that the code will include unspecified penalties for those failing to adhere to its principles. "it brings scientists closer to society. To a certain extent science has been seen as remote from society. This a real attempt to make scientists recognize their responsibilities and apply this to their work.“ “in a changing world, there is a need for scientists to be more accountable for their actions, or even inaction."Part of the job of being a scientist is to be ethical. But we live in a world where we need more and more guidelines for things that we used to think of as common sense. "We used to believe that because people were scientists, doctors or teachers that they did not possess human frailties. These things already apply to doctors and teachers and theres no reason why scientists should be exempt.
  40. 40. A new social contract for science Jane Lubchenco, 1998. President, American Association for the Advancement of Science, 1996• Objective, value-free science is being replaced by a science in which social conditions, ethical conduct, and identification with the research subjects are integral components.• This new science would include widespread involvement in, if not a total democratisation of, science. This type of science produces socially robust knowledge with three aspects: it is valid inside and outside the laboratory; its validity is achieved through involving an extended group of experts, including lay experts; and thirdly this participatory- generated knowledge is likely to be less contested.• Externalities such as health and safety of living things, resource and energy use and other societal goals would be internalised in this type of science.