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Charles Whithead

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Do you think Genetically Modified food (GM) is morally justifiable? How about the "Industrialisation" of food production?

We covered artificial selection today in Biology, and it got me thinking about the ethics of production. Animals like the Belgian blue cow are bred solely for their consumption as beef.

Expanding the topic, is it right to manufacture animals for food as we do in, say, battery farms?

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    Mar 1 2012: Western diet is one of the main reasons we have heart disease, diabetes, obesity, to name a few. These are lifestyle diseases, and our foods are loaded with calories, and lack high nutritional value.

    It was not until agriculture and modifying flour (taking out the nutrients found in wheat seeds for longer shelf life) and the addition of sugar that we began seeing tooth decay,

    Anyone who thinks factory farming is okay, as long as the animals are treated humanely does not know how factory farming works. Not only are the animals produced solely for food, but they are pumped up with antibiotics, hormones to speed growth, and fed corn that is high calorie, low nutrient food, and not food cattle have historically eaten.

    It is because of the food they are fed that they are given antibiotics, because the corn literally rots their stomachs as it bulks them up at an unnatural rate, and within 9 months or less, they are taken to slaughter.

    There have been studies conducted on age of onset of menstruation, and females are on average reaching puberty 1-2 years earlier than in the past. Why? It has been theorized the hormones given to cattle is having an effect on our youth. Not to mention the antibiotic resistance seen in humans which has been said to be in part due to us receiving them through eating beef.

    Morality aside, is it a healthy choice? Time will tell. Our society is sick, and I believe many of the processed foods and the homogenous foods are part to blame. I know I was fortunate to have fresh fruits and vegetables grown in my grand parents garden. I really miss the delicious foods of my youth, because it is a rare occurrence to find the same quality in grocery stores.
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      Mar 1 2012: I totally agree with you, especially about the humanity of factory farming. In my view, the problem occurs out of the division between production and consumption. We do not follow the tracks anyway where and how our food is "produced" and therefore lose sight of the morality of food anymore.

      Furthermore, to add another moral aspect of the production of food, adding to your comment is, how does it affect the expenditure of health care on certain diseases. One of my teachers told us although there are more people dying from AIDS, Malaria and TB instead of heart diseases, diabetes and cancer globally, most of the funding in research goes to "Western" diseases which occur mainly in developed country due to the cheap availability of certain products.
      I just checked and while the expenditure on diabetes is estimated to be between 376 and 672 billion USD in 2010, funds for HIV are estimated to be 8.3 billion USD in 2011. One might argue, diabetes is more expensive to treat (I don't know to be honest, just a guess here), it only clarifies the injustice of the treatments as it would be cheaper then to supply people with prevention and treating means.
      I am not saying, diabetes should not be treated (I have got cases of it in my family as well) but just wanted to raise another issue here.
    • Mar 1 2012: Agreed. And I avoid gluten and dairy for example.
      However, we should not forget that wheat reduced famines, if not eradicated it in many regions.

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