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A social contract for biotechnology: shared visions for risky technologies? (Special issue: Food safety, food quality and food ethics. Selected papers from the 3rd Congress of the European Society for Agricultural and Food Ethics)

By D. M. Bruce

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Abstract

Future technological developments concerning food, agriculture, and the environment face the conflict of social legitimation from a skeptical public and media, in the wake of the crises of bovine spongiform encephalopathy, genetic modified (GM) food, and foot and mouth disease in the UK. Key ethical issues were ignored by the bioindustry, regulators, and the government, leaving a legacy of distrust. The paper examines agricultural biotechnology in terms of a social contract, whose conditions would have to be fulfilled to gain acceptance of novel applications. Various current and future GM applications are evaluated against these conditions. Success would depend critically on how far a shared vision can be found with the public. To reestablish trust, significant changes are identified in the planning and pursuit of biotechnology.

Date 2002
Publication Title Journal of Agricultural & Environmental Ethics
Volume 15
Issue 3
Pages 279-289
ISBN/ISSN 1187-7863
DOI 10.1023/A:1015738727342
Language English
Author Address Society, Religion and Technology Project, Church of Scotland, John Knox House, 45 High Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1SR, UK. srtp@srtp.org.uk
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Tags
  1. Agriculture
  2. Behavior and behavior mechanisms
  3. Biotechnology
  4. British Isles
  5. Commonwealth of Nations
  6. Consumers
  7. Contamination
  8. Contracts
  9. Developed countries
  10. Europe
  11. Food economics
  12. Food safety
  13. Genetic engineering
  14. Great Britain
  15. OECD countries
  16. peer-reviewed
  17. Public opinion
  18. risk
  19. Social psychology and social anthropology
  20. social values
  21. technical progress
  22. United Kingdom
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  1. peer-reviewed