Ethical Issues Arising from Enviropigs : A Cooperative Learning Ethics Case Study on Agricultural Biotechnology

TitleEthical Issues Arising from Enviropigs : A Cooperative Learning Ethics Case Study on Agricultural Biotechnology
Publication TypeCase Study
Year of Publication2008
AuthorsStreiffer, R, Ortiz, SG
Corporate AuthorsIowa Sta te University,
Pagination33 p.
PublisherIowa State University
Publication LanguageEnglish
KeywordsAGRICULTURE , ENVIRONMENTAL , ENVIRONMENTAL ethics , PUBLIC
AbstractManure from farm animals is an important natural fertilizer for the growth of crops,but manure from intensive hog farms is a serious environmental problem. Because it is high in phosphorous, it can lead to water contamination, algae blooms which harm aquatic life, and the production of greenhouse gases. Researchers at the University of Guelph have developed transgenic pigs, Enviropigs, that use plant phosphorus more efficiently. By producing the enzyme phytase in the their saliva, the pigs can degrade normally indigestible phytate, which would otherwise release phosphorous into the pigs’ manure. As a result, the phosphorus content of the manure is reduced by as much as 75 percent.Some groups claim that Enviropigs will produce substantial benefits to the environment, consumers, and pork producers. Others claim that these benefits are a smokescreen that will divert attention from the long-term unsustainability of intensive pork production, and that Enviropigs pose unacceptable risks to consumers and the environment. The case includes an activity in which the class will divide into groups and argue both sides of the case.
URLhttp://www.public.iastate.edu/~ethics/EPShort.pdf
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