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Food: An Environmental Ethical Inquiry

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by

Julia Lees

on 18 December 2013

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Transcript of Food: An Environmental Ethical Inquiry

Food: An Environmental Ethical Inquiry
Technology
Policy
Economics
Positive Economic Impacts:
- $98.2 billion net gain
-crop yield gain (total/ per acre)
-produce less expensive
Peripheral Benefits
-less environmental damage
-labor saver/ time saver


Ethics
Fossil Fuel Farming
Pro
Con
Factory Farming
Genetically
Modified
Organisms
Right to Food
Current GMO Policy
Opposition
GMOs and farmers
Organic Foods
U.S. Department of Agriculture
Regulations
Enforcement
Imperfections
Faster
Fewer Humans
Cost tied to oil prices
More Calories of energy
Genetic Engineering
Pro
Con
Less environmental impact
Engineered for specific conditions
Nutrition
No-till
The Best Ethical Theory
consistency
comprehensiveness
intuitive sense
3 Main Ethical Theories
Consequentialism
Deontology
Virtue-Based Ethics
Science and technology
Consequentialism
Example: CAFO Meat
Given an
anthropocentric
view

Ethical Egoism
Consequences to humans
Implications
Conclusion:
moral
(positive consequences outweigh negative ones)
Assuming
natural rights
Utilitarianism
Criterion of Moral Standing
Hence, animals have moral standing
Consequences
Conclusion: may be considered
moral or immoral
Policy
Virtue-Based Ethics
Examples: (1) Food, Farm, and Jobs Bill (2010); (2) GMO policies
Food, Farm, and Jobs Bill
Did each individual do what made him or her a good person instead of focusing on policy questions or on what was the right actions?
Good person = exhibits courage, integrity, honesty (does this describe politicians? Obama?
By definition, this ethical theory is bounded by non-political issues
Conclusion:
not ethical
GMO Policies
GMO policies also allow companies to “steal rights from farmers to choose what to plant and how to run their businesses” (Sophie);
Non-transparent = deception = not completely honest
All about competition
Does not necessarily promote good, virtuous characters (people or companies)
Conclusion:
not ethical
Compare to Ethical Egoism
Business and Economics
Deontology
Example: use of GMOs
Right action, right reason
Definitions of "right" or "good" actions
Economical and anthropocentric reasons for action = not sufficient
Conclusion:
ethical or unethical
Anthropocentric view
ETHICS
ETHICS
ETHICS
BEST ETHICAL THEORY OVERALL?
consistency
comprehensiveness
makes intuitive sense
short term solution
resistance
less biodiversity
must buy expensive seeds
CAFO
Contained Animal Feeding Operation
more meat per square foot
cheap
Animal cruelty
Sanitation
Health and safety
Reliance on antibiotics
Wastes the waste
Negative Economic Impacts:
-contamination costs
-negative impacts on foreign policy
-broken promises: conventional outperforming GMO
Peripheral Impacts
-more environmental damage
-less job opportunity
Cost Benefit Analysis?
IMPOSSIBLE
Animal Welfare Act 1966 protects living conditions and sales
FASS Guide for Care and Use of Agricultural Animals 1988/2009 responds to and regulates CAFOs
Food, Farm & Jobs Bill (not yet passed) assist family farming and boost production and energy
Clean Air and Clean Water Acts maintain quality of air and waters
Resource Conservation and Recovery Act monitors use of resources
Humane Methods of Slaughter Act 1958 controls slaughter to avoid cruelty
Food Safety & Modernization Act 2011 gives FDA power to inspect and recall food products
Food Standards and Labeling Policy Book guides manufactures and customers
Full transcript