Ethical Issues of Technologies Used for Animal Breeding
The article, “Ethical Issues of Technologies Used for Animal Breeding,” by Jac. Swart, covers various ethical considerations surrounding new technological advancements in animal breeding. Throughout the article, Swart delineates vital topics such as animal ethics, utilitarianism, animal rights considerations, biocentric considerations and environmental ethics. The article discusses whether technological advancements break certain moral codes, and ultimately begs the question of whether we should create more technology.
The first established idea surrounds animal ethics, the ‘Five Freedoms’ by the British Farm Animal Welfare Council. The article explains all five of the freedoms, as well as their relation and importance through technologies used for animal breeding. It raises ethic issues surrounding mortality, and a human’s responsibility towards other creatures in Earth.
Additionally, Swart explores utilitarian considerations, which describe how sentient beings, (creatures that have the ability to feel,) deserve to avoid suffering and enjoy life. He argues the fact that because animals are sentient, and can feel pain, as well as happiness, they deserve to be treated in such a way that suffering is avoided. Although advances in technology may lead to increased animal welfare, the animals may not always we living normally, or as part of a natural environment. This in tern violates one of the ‘Five Freedoms,’ and can be questioned from a utilitarian standpoint.
Another idea that is explored throughout the article is biocentric considerations, which describes how genetic modification of animals can be viewed as playing God or as an unnatural act. As a result, technologies that genetically modify animals such as selective animal breeding or genomic tools are immoral. Biocentric approaches follow the value that a natural balance exists, and when technology is mixed with animals, this balance is disrupted or disturbed. The article essentially shows that as well as the suffering and welfare of the animal, the integrity or authenticity of the animal’s constitution should be considered.
Lastly, the article discusses the impact of animal breeding technologies on their surrounding environment. Animal reproduction and breeding technologies such as artificial insemination, genetic modification or embryo transfer also effect the environment such as ecosystems, species, or animal populations. This must be taken into consideration when contemplating the ethics of animal breeding in 2020, as it plays an important role in our natural environment.
Ultimately the article views advancement in technology within the farming, and animal breeding industry, from a variety of ethical perspectives. It questions both our personal views, as well as the type of society that we are becoming.
This article accurately exemplifies a variety of topics that we have learnt throughout the term. One of these is the digital disruption, and different technological advances throughout the agricultural industry. Digital disruption refers to the change in technology and business models that effects the operations of a business as well as the value proposition of existing goods and services. This article explores some different technological advancements within the farming industry, such as selective breeding, genetic modification and artificial insemination. Throughout our class work we have discussed and researched the impact of technology on other industries, such as the trade and medical industry. Majority of the information we have studied seems to outline the disadvantages, though primarily agree with the benefits that come with the digital disruption. However, the article I have chosen takes a completely different approach, focuses on the ethics of technology and AI, and it’s impact on animals and their welfare.
Moreover, the article portrays a precise example of CSR, corporate social responsibility. The corporate social responsibility of a company refers to how companies manage their business processes to produce an overall positive impact on society. In class, we briefly focussed on how a company should be committed to running their business ethically, and morally. By using unethical breeding technologies, companies do not comply with CSR, and this may reflect badly on their public image. If a company fails to comply with the opinion of the public, then ultimately, that business will lose customers and profit.
Finally, this article links to my current research project, in which I am studying the impact of technology on the farming industry. The article specifically focuses on the ethical repercussions, which is an important, yet unique aspect. Often, we as a society fail to question whether the technological advancements humans are making are ethical. We are so focused on the advancement of our race, we forget to reflect on the type of society we are becoming. When evaluating the impact of such a vital and prominent concept I think it’s important that I also consider the moral impact, rather than the economic and social.
In conclusion, the article brought up multiple ethical perspectives, and discussed the social responsibility of farm and agricultural businesses. It portrayed how the digital disruption may impact us negatively, in a new light that is not often shown. Finally, it was argued that technology and society interact and technologies carry with them implicit moral codes. Modern reproductive animal technologies put questions on the table that exceed the level of animal or environmental ethics and ask us to consider what kind of society we really want.
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