Ethical Guidebook

A discussion of the difference between our personal values and our public ethics, how mature citizens can support both, and why our love for public ethics must trump our love for personal and group values when they conflict in the public space. Ethics offers a guidebook for evaluating public issues and finding multilateral solutions to endless cycles of values centric conflicts and unilateral violence.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

The Ethics of Cloned and Genetically Modified Food Sources

Some cloned 'natural supergene' based food sources as well as genetically modified food sources are being declared scientifically 'safe' by some scientists and government agencies. Typically enough editors and consumers are being asked to focus on a value-oriented question limited to personal self-interest and only the end product: Would you buy and eat them?

Honest science requires looking at ecological impacts not just end products. For example, with cloned animals the end product may be 'identical' but we the public risk added disease outbreaks from industries promoting ever more extreme monocultures. Honest business requires looking at market impacts not just end products. For example with cloning based factory farms and genetic modification related patents we the public risk increased monopolies on production and reduced access to natural genetics, not just the end product. Honest ethics requires informed consent and opportunity for oversight by all the public, and application of law where necessary in the public interest, not just opportunities for some to get increased income value from end products. So honest science, honest business, and honest ethics demand that cloned as well as genetically modified plant and animal products must be separately regulated and labelled, not concealed, so consumers can choose to pay for the ecosystem and business market they want, and support the ethical oversight and laws and regulations they want, not just the end product.

Given the many natural, robust genetic alternatives that already exist, and the disease risks, economic stratification, and environmental pollution that already occur with increased factory model plant and animal production and associated monocultures, the cheapest or best end product is perhaps the least important factor in consumer purchase and government regulation decisions.


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