GMOs: Ethical or not? by Taymor Idliby

[ By on December 18, 2016 ]

A genetically modified organism, or GMO is an organism whose genetic material has been altered using genetic engineering techniques. When studying the ethics behind the question as to whether or not we should implement GMOs in our society, through studying the health risks to the consumer of GMOs, as well as the failure of GMOs to increase crop yield, one can conclude that we clearly should absolutely not.

To begin, GMOs are completely unsafe for any consumer. This idea been made painstakingly clear by the reliable American Academy of Environmental Medicine, or AAEM, which urges all doctors around the world to steer clear from prescribing foods with GMOs for diets. They cite studies showing that animals who have ingested GMOs have organ damage, gastrointestinal and immune system disorders, accelerated aging, and infertility. Furthermore, the Institute for Responsible technology  also has reported that there have been various health problems that occurred after the introduction of GMOs in 1996, explaining that “The percentage of Americans with three or more chronic illnesses jumped from 7% to 13% in just 9 years; food allergies skyrocketed, and disorders such as autism, reproductive disorders, digestive problems, and others are on the rise.” It is truly not safe to start using GMOs when after just 9 years of research, studies show very mixed and controversial results. From a utilitarian standpoint, these damages would decrease overall happiness around the world; therefore, GMOs should be avoided at all costs.

Furthermore, contrary to popular belief, GMOs simply do not increase crop yields. Genetically modified crops are often claimed to give higher yields than naturally bred varieties; however, research does not support this claim in the slightest. Studies of major crops have shown that advocates who propose that GMOs could solve world hunger through a higher crop production are not backed up by any evidence.  Failure to Yield, a peer reviewed meta data study published by the Union of Concerned Scientists evaluated 20 years of GM research and 13 years of commercialization. The study discovered this fallacy the GMO community continuously promulgates. They explain, “We studied two dozen academic studies of corn and soybeans, the two primary genetically engineered food and feed crops grown in the United States. Based on those studies, our report concludes that genetically engineered herbicide-tolerant soybeans and herbicide-tolerant corn has not increased yields…In fact, the most astonishing data from this book was that non-gmo crops actually increased yields from crops, 15-23%.” Once again, from a utilitarian view, if GMOs are not increasing yields and helping solve world hunger, they are thereby not promoting happiness.

To conclude, GMOs are not the right choice for any government to endorse or the world to consume, as they are harmful to one’s health and they do not increase potential yields in food.  The current situation with GMOs relates similarly to the tobacco industry’s logic just 50 years ago. Doctors did not reach a consensus on whether tobacco was safe or not, and humanity ultimately paid the high price. We should learn from our mistakes as a nation and give scientists much more time to understand fully the effects of GMOs. Our lives and the lives of our children might just depend on it.

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