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Do the potential risks justify stopping the development of GM foods when they could be a benefit to developing countries?

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Introduction

Do the potential risks justify stopping the development of GM foods when they could be a benefit to developing countries? On the one hand we can say it would be immoral to stop the development of GM foods when they are such a benefit to poor developing countries. GM crops can be developed with resistance to problems such as disease and pests, therefore we can produce greater yields and help feed members of developing countries. However on the other hand, there are a lot of risks involved, and it is fair to ask if there is actually a benefit to the more developing countries, maybe we are being 'blackmailed' into the decision of continuing with the development of GM foods, by being told that it is the 'morally right' decision. If we look at the wider picture of things we can see that GE seeds are infact very expensive. Are the farmers in these developing countries expected to purchase these seeds themselves? Will they be able to afford it? Are they going to be able to buy enough to solve their problems? ...read more.

Middle

In the UK we already fight Giant Hogweed, Japanese Knotweed and other weeds accidentally introduced from other countries - these may be more of a problem than weeds derived from cross-pollination with GM plants. It is not necessarily good for our own environment to continue with the production of GM foods. Another risk is that these herbicide tolerant crops could spread these genes to crops we do not want to have these genes. If care is not taken weeds can become herbicide tolerant and this worsens the problem rather than solves it. Is it a risk we should take? Genetically modified foods do of course have their advantages. Crops, which are resistant to disease or pests can be developed, allowing us to be sure that the plants we plant will grow properly. This will be advantageous to the farmers as they are almost guaranteed a good crop yield and will not have to rely so heavily on crop rotation and the incorporation of recycled organic material. There is also a benefit to developing countries here. ...read more.

Conclusion

But then the question arises is this rice going to be accessible to those who need it? Overall in my opinion the potential risks do justify stopping development of GM foods. There are far more disadvantages, and being generally a new scientific idea we cannot be sure of the problems and damage it can cause. It is possible that there are far more long-term effects that, because research has not been conducted long enough we will not find out until far into the future, when it will be too late to stop it. As it is not certain that developing GM food is actually going to be a worthwhile benefit, I think the risks should be concentrated on more, once the damage is done there is no going back, but further research could minimalise risks further, and perhaps find a way of eliminating them entirely. I think at this stage it is not fair to say that it is morally wrong to not give GM a chance. The risks involved outweigh by far the benefits, and I think that these risks could cause far worse problems than the problems in the developing countries. I think it can't be seen as beneficial, only problematic. ...read more.

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