The 2001 foot and mouth disease outbreak in the UK has had widespread adverse effects on the farming community, the tourist industry, millions of farm animals, the environment, and citizens' quality of life. This report summarizes the course of the epidemic and then questions the ethical validity of the procedure chosen to eradicate the disease, namely, the slaughter of millions of animals. It is argued that the utilitarian basis of the mass slaughter programme is unjustified even in its own terms, and that respect for certain deontological principles merits increased attention in public policy. The long-term interests of UK citizens, the viability of British farming, and the conservation of the countryside all depend on urgent, critical decisions that should be informed by a broader conception of the role of ethics in agriculture.
|Publication Title||Journal of Agricultural & Environmental Ethics|
|Author Address||Centre for Applied Bioethics, University of Nottingham, Sutton Bonington Campus, Loughborough LE12 5RD, UK.|
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