IV. Ethical, Legal, and Social Issues

Creating Herbicide Resistant Crops has created a big impact on the ways farmers farm their foods efficiently. Farmers can do their work without the hassle of the pesky weeds which can ultimately harm food production. Through the use of chemicals such as Glyphosate and Glufosinate, farmers have got rid of most of their weeds. In fact, from 1996 to 2010, herbicide- tolerant crops consistently occupied the largest planting area of biotech crops. In 2010 alone, herbicide tolerant crops occupied 89.3 million hectares or 61% of the 148 million hectares of biotech crops planted globally. The most common are the Glyphosate and Glufosinate tolerant varieties. (isaa.org)

In fact, multiple crops have been used efficiently globally, such as the crops in the table below.




Alfalfa Australia; Canada; Japan; Mexico; New Zealand; Philippines; United States of America (USA)

Argentine Canola

Australia; Canada; China; European Union (EU); Japan; Korea, Rep.; Mexico; New Zealand; Philippines; South Africa; USA


Argentina; Australia; Brazil; Canada; China; Colombia; EU; Japan; Korea, Rep.; Mexico; New Zealand; Philippines; South Africa; USA

Flax, Linseed Canada; USA


Argentina; Australia; Brazil; Canada; China; Colombia; El Salvador; EU; Honduras; Japan; Korea, Rep.; Malaysia; Mexico; New Zealand; Philippines; Russian Federation; Singapore; South Africa; Taiwan; Thailand; USA


Australia; Canada; Colombia; Mexico; New Zealand; Russian Federation; USA


Argentina; Australia; Bolivia; Brazil; Canada; China; Colombia; Czech Republic; EU; Japan; Korea, Rep.; Malaysia; Mexico; New Zealand; Paraguay; Philippines; Russian Federation; South Africa; Switzerland; Taiwan; Thailand; United Kingdom; USA; Uruguay

Sugarbeet Australia; Canada; European Union; Japan; Korea, Rep.; Mexico; New Zealand; Philippines; Russian Federation; Singapore; USA
Wheat Colombia; USA

Source: ISAAA's GM Approval Database. http://www.isaaa.org/gmapprovaldatabase/.


IV. Ethical, Legal, and Social Issues (cont.)

The manufacturers of Glufosinate and Glyphoshate (typically Roundup) stand to gain the most out of H.T. crops. Monsanto (manufacturer of Roundup) would be most pleased if farmers and even regular citizens had to use their product often to get rid of weeds, hence making more money. The business world of biotechnology and others is practically solely based on money. The scientists who claim they do their work on H.T. crops and on other fields only on grounds of "finding the best solution for the environment" primarily work for the money.

By measuring the potential risk of environmental hazards, decreased food production due to a malfunction in the breeding of the herbicide tolerant crop, and increased weeds with the benefits of genetically modifying crops, there is no contest. Although the cons may be too big to "ignore," the pros far outweigh the possible negative affects of H.T. crops, hence the engineering of them.

The risks and benefits are evenly displayed throughout the groups. After all, all the scientists trying to create H.T. crops are working towards a common goal, trying to fight off the potential risk of decreased food production, damaged crops, and a loss of income for the hard-working farmers.

There are three main types of principle that are relevant to the evaluation of policies or practices. The first principle is a principle of general welfare which enjoins governments (and other powerful institutions) to promote and protect the interests of citizens. The second is the maintenance of people’s rights, for example their rights to freedom of choice as consumers. The third is the principle of justice, and it requires the burdens and benefits of policies and practices to be fairly shared among those who are affected by them. When we consider the introduction of a new technology, such as that related to Genetically Modified crops, we can ask a series of questions in the light of these general principles. (nch.go.jp)

The major ethical concern if whether or not the plant's integrity is kept. In order for crops to be fully resistant to weeds, there would need to be an injection of some sort of resistance gene into the crops themselves. Whether or not the plant would function as it did before is still a question for all scientists in this field of biotechnology. It's a possible concern that food production can be altered, and even the soil could be compromised. It's all still a debate. However, the benefits are too great to ignore and should be accounted for. The laws set by the FDA and the EPA set no specific standards for the prohibition of GMCs.

The US agencies in charge of this specific field of biotechnology depends on which state. For instance, California's regulated by the Department of Pesticide Regulation, a division of the CEPA (California Environmental Protection Agency). When dealing with herbicides and the potential creation of H.T. crops, intellectual property rights, mainly in the form of patents, have been fundamental to the commercial development of the technology. Several hundred patents on plant genes, techniques for genetic modification and transgenic plants have now been granted and many more have been filed. Although patenting in biotechnology generally is now widely practiced by public and private sector researchers alike, excessively broad claims and restrictive
licensing remain a potential threat to innovation.



This free website was made using Yola.

No HTML skills required. Build your website in minutes.

Go to www.yola.com and sign up today!

Make a free website with Yola