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 Ethical Issues..

We are hearing the term "ethical" more often. Sometimes it is used as a misnomer for "environmental" (eg Newsnights TV's "Ethical Man") Which is a shame, as the term provides a useful tool to address issues - here to do with food.

While some people may think ethics is a bit "airy fairy", it has history which we can call upon. Many people in the past have tried to work out how we come to making that crucial ethical decision - is it right or wrong?

Ethical Information..

Just like the legal system, there are previous precedents and both have to arrive at a guilty/not guilty (or ethical /unethical) decision. Both ethics and law always have to deal with specific sets of circumstances, always different.

Ethics is the 'big picture' . Food / Agricultural Ethics takes in "sustainability" (primarily envirornment but also social concerns), welfare of animals and people, but also wider concerns - that go beyond what may be easiliy measurable.

Food Ethics "is concerned with the issues of right and wrong, and/or good and bad, as they impact on the production, processing, distribution, and utilisation of food - encompassing the interests of the current and future generations of humans and sentient beings." Ben Mepham (link)

More " Such ethical concerns seek tp pay due concern to the diveristy of political, cultural , spiritual and technological influnces on the world's peoples, while prioritorising the principle of fairness"

More on Wellbeing Autonomy and Fairness (and epistemiological explanation)

Ethical Plan - Consider this Matrix

We have added the row "workers" to the existing ethical food matrix developed by Ben Mepham..more links..

Respect for Wellbeing Autonomy Fairness
Farmers Satisfactory income and working conditions Managerial Freedom of Action Fairtrade Standards
Workers Health & Safety Trade Union Rights Ethical Base Code (ETI)
Consumers Food Safety Acceptability, Quality of life Democratic informed choice Availiability of affordable food
The Biota Conservation Biodiversity Sustainability
Crop Flourishment Adaptability Intrinsic Value

For farmers workers consumers consider both impacts and dutes, whereas biota & crop - just impacts

Go to the Ethical Matrix that "provides exercises in how to apply ethics to issues in animal farming, including an interactive web-based exercise".

Ethical Links

Food Ethics Council

Differences between Fair and Ethical Trade


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