With emerging biotechnology food industry across the globe has undergone changes in the way food is produced with stakeholders in the food industry coming up with different views on the production of food. Examples of such controversial issues are those on the issues of beef hormone and Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs). Noticeably, discussions and debates surrounding safety of the food produced artificially will continue to generate more debates even as biotechnology continues to expand and more ways will be discovered on how to produce food stuffs through genetic modification. Some of the debates are hinged on the health issues while others point to the moral authority of producing some organisms for consumption using scientific methods. Still other reasons for these controversies are vested interest in the food industry that sees production of food and other organisms using genetic method as a threat to their businesses and factories. This paper discusses the debates that surround beef hormones, GMOs and also protection of shrimps and turtles.
Beef hormones and other GMOs have attracted attention of some of the consumers of foods from international trade. Such consumers question several issues when it comes to beef hormones and genetically modified crops. Such contentious issues include effect of the food stuff on the environment, health and safety issues concerning the biotechnology used, whether the production involved depletion of resources, and if the product can be renewed in case of wastage. Other issues normally elicit debate in the use of beef hormones and GMOs are based on teir social, ethical and environmental implications. Interestingly, Lynch & Vogel (2001) observe thatthe debate over beef hormones is a two horse race involving the US and European countries. In retaliation to the protest of banning its beef in the EU, the US returned banned Genetically Modified products from the EU markets. Much has already been done, especially with the World Trade Organization (WTO). However, frictions keep on coming up, especially with newer biotechnology methods used in production of foods.
Similarly, debates still abound in protection of endangered animals such as the shrimps and the turtle. It all started by the decision of the WTO Appellate Body which granted the US government the authority to control the fishing of shrimps and turtles in its waters. This case raised legitimacy of issues with some nations questioning the responsibility of US in ensuring liberal international trade and environmental protection. However, such disagreements have continued to threaten the international ties.
Contentious Issues in Beef Hormones, GMOs and Shrimp-Turtle Debate
According to Carlarne (2007), social, ethical and environmental issues are the epicenter of the heated ongoing debates. Some of the arguments have had to be handled by the WTO Appellate Body. However, they have equally proved challenging for the organization due to the fact that their foundational issues are of the social and ethical nature rather than ideological. This means that any compromise in the initial stance will affect not only environment but also health and safety of the whole population. Similarly, the debate is rather fuelled by biotechnology advancement and new policies that make the upholding of earlier agreements difficult. For instance, in 2006 the US was a major player in the debate over beef hormones, GMOs and shrimp-turtle debates.
Later, administration (FDA) started animal cloning debate which was not received well with the EU partners. The EU on its part is still contemplating the next step as it is most unlikely to take a laissez-faire stand on this matter (Carlarne, 2007). As a consequence of this, the action stage is set for a further war over production of cloned animals for consumption. Shaffer (2005) observes that the twist in the three scenarios of beef hormones, GMOs and shrimp-turtle issue is the common factor of the environmental effects that they have. As debate rages on, some people have questioned health and safety of the US citizens themselves over the use of beef hormones and GMOs. In response, the US claims that public participation and scientific precautionary measures is what is lacking in those countries that are insisting that beef hormones and the like are unsafe. However, the debate cannot be narrowed down to safety alone because it has other aspects that touch on fairness of the use, especially the shrimp-turtle debate (Shaffer, 2005).
From the above discussion it is clear that beef hormones, GMOs and shrimp-turtle debates are founded on the social, ethical and environmental bases. This will make them difficult to be solved. Similarly, these debates are made more alive with the advancements in biotechnology. However, it is also noted that debates over GMOs and shrimp-turtle issues can also be viewed from dimension of battle for supremacy.