Posts Tagged ‘debates’
For the last year genetically modified (GM) food has been in the news almost every day! There are an enormous number of changes that can be made to organisms with genetic modification. These range from the introduction of fish genes into plants to lead to better frost resistance to modifications leading to rice plants producing more vitamin A. One of the most controversial additions is the 'terminator' gene, a stretch of DNA that renders the seeds produced by the plant infertile; this makes the plant unable to reproduce (and is used by seed companies to force farmers to buy new supplies of the seed each year). In the past varieties of crops and their seeds have not been owned by anyone. There is an increasing trend for biotechnology companies to patent GM crop varieties and thus own the exclusive right to produce and sell their seeds. This means that farmers in developing (and developed) countries will become dependent on these multinational seed-producing firms who will be able to charge high prices for patented varieties. read more
Should countries make vaccination compulsory?
Vaccines supposedly represent one of the most successful and effective interventions in medicine. By vaccinating people, society has been able to eradicate numerous diseases that caused millions of deaths before. A dramatic example is smallpox, which was responsible for some of the most formidable epidemics of humankind. In 1967 it was the cause of 2 million deaths; a decade later it was totally eradicated from the planet and many claim this was due to the global vaccination program. Many countries have thus made it compulsory for people to be vaccinated against various diseases. However, together with vaccination rose also anti-vaccination movements. Nowadays pharmaceutical companies are getting enormous profits from vaccination and different interest groups promote either the option of free choice or of compulsory vaccination.
Should humans be allowed to use other animals as objects of sport and entertainment?
This topic is about various other uses of animals for sport, pleasure, and entertainment. A wide variety of examples from different cultures around the world might be brought into this debate: 'blood sports' such as fox and stag hunting, and fishing; forms of entertainment using performing animals, such as circuses; and sports in which animals perform for human enjoyment, such as horse racing. Views on these issues are often very culture-specific - e.g. some British people may feel more sympathy with fox hunting - these practices can form part of a national culture. Nonetheless animal rights advocates find these to be the most indefensible ways that humans treat other animals. There are two parts to the proposition case: first, it is wrong in principle to exploit non-human animals in any way; secondly, there are many concrete examples of how animals are made to suffer in the context of sports and entertainment.