Sample Research Paper on Monsanto in Agricultural and Environmental Ethics

Monsanto being a global organization dealing with modern agriculture, it has succeeded
in becoming the largest seed company in the world. The company’s website provides adequate
information on how successful they have become over the past years. The company has utilized
scientific innovation with a major focus on genetic modification (Monsanto, 2017). Notably,
genetic modification to a deep history of farming has been welcomed by a number of praises as
well as much criticism regarding the detrimental impacts. This innovation is not different from
other innovations in the world that have been made before because they all come with
excitement and skepticism. Farmers have been benefiting from the company’s stronger and
tougher seeds that have high productivity and profitability. The farmers enjoy the benefits of
Monsanto’s seeds as they manage to meet the ever-increasing demands of the global population.
However, due to health concerns, consumers have become more resistant as they want to ensure
that the agricultural products they consume are ever safe. Genetic modification has thus, become
the critical agricultural innovation in the contemporary society, but it there is the need to
understand better ways of growing safe and enough food for the ever-growing world population.

Ethical Culture

The current company operations started in 2002 despite the company being founded in
1901 where it started with the production of an artificial sweetener. The company has been in
operation for over a century meaning that it has a deep history to be explored. However, from the
case study, only the more recent history is discussed. This shows that the past history has no
good reputation for the company that has been creating the household product RoundUp over the
years. Notably, Monsanto produced the chemical Agent Orange which raised many legal

concerns in the 1970 (Ferrell et al., 2015). This was followed by the discovery of a release of
chemicals into land fields and toxic waste into a creek in Alabama. The company’s CEO, Hugh
Grant joined the company despite having a history of controversy. Currently, issues have been
raised regarding consumer safety with relevance to the consumption of genetically modified
products. Environmental concerns have also been raised regarding the spray of herbicides and
pesticides in conjunction with the use of Monsanto‘s seeds that have been genetically modified.
Although most of Monsanto‘s products have been legally and scientifically researched,
satisfactory answers are yet to be found. From farmers who cannot reuse the seeds from their
products who must purchase new seeds to competitors cannot compete due to patents and
corporate power feels the squeeze that Monsanto has put on the industry. More recently,
Monsanto has tried to turn around their image with the world. They have increased food
production for increasing population, increased farmers profitability, complied with legal issues
with competitors, improved communities in developing countries and has given millions in
charitable donations and scholarships.

Costs and Benefits of Growing GM Seed

As many things in the world we must always weigh the benefits with the risks of
anything. For instance, if a new drug is found to cure a once incurable disease but if used it will
cause that person to lose a limb would it be worth putting on the market? GMO seeds can be
seen in a similar light. “Developing countries must weigh potential for poverty reduction against
possible loss of biodiversity over time, famine and malnutrition against reliance on Western-bred
‘frankenfoods’ and economic independence against reliance on Western companies like
Monsanto to provide seeds and agricultural know-how (Scuro, 2007, p. 395). With populations
expected to increase tremendously in future years, food production must be increased or

starvation and malnutrition may become a real problem. Global warming is also another issue in
the contemporary world. The climate of the earth is ever changing and crops must be modified
to grow in these environments. GMO seeds have been put on the market to help increase crop
production, help seeds grow in unfavorable weather conditions and modified to include genes
that will kill bugs and RoundUp to kill weeds without having to use sprays. These all will be a
benefit to the overall wellbeing of the future of food production of the world. However, some
people think the risks to the environment, health, economies and the agricultural market in
general will outweigh the benefits. Many are fearful of the unknown aspects of the use of this
technology. Data is not available for the long-term effects of the use of GMO seeds in our
agriculture. Many are worried about future health and environmental problems that may arise in
the future. “Opponents of the technology voice concerns over seed monopolies, reduced
consumer sovereignty, the misappropriation of indigenous knowledge, neocolonialism, and the
perpetuation of social and economic inequities within and between communities” (Komparic,
2015, p. 607). Many are wary of Monsanto’s creation of the GMO seed and the seemly
monopoly they hold in this area. They are afraid that they have too much power and can skew
the way that GMO seeds are used.

Management of Harm to Plants and Animals

Many believe that the use of GMO seeds is an environmental nightmare. “Genetic
engineering pollution and contamination are inevitable since it is not possible to prevent seeds
from being spread by the wind or other natural causes” (Hummels & Timmer, 2004, p. 82). They
are also concerned with the unintentional spread of these seeds to other crops, the use of more
chemical sprays, the effects on animals and insects and herbicide and pesticide resistance issues.
Monsanto has suggested that farmers use crop rotation in fields that have non-GMO seeds, vary

their herbicide use to other products to help lower the risk of the development of resistance and
even creating refuges that have 20% of fields planted with non-GMO seeds (Ferrell et al., 2015).
However, the governance of these procedures is up to the farmers themselves and many believe
that these procedures will not be followed. As we all know, birds, insects and animals all eat the
seeds that are planted as well as drink water from streams located throughout farmland. Many
are concerned about what these types of seeds will do to these creatures when it is ingested as
well as animals drinking water that may be contaminated with herbicides and pesticides sprayed
close by. Monsanto should be concerned about these issues since this is their creation however,
farmers must be good stewards of the environment and practice safe growing techniques to aid in
the safety of our environment for generations to come.

Perceptions, attitudes, and public knowledge of biotech products are essential factors that
have a significant influence on the contribution of biotech crops on global food supply in the
modern society. Many people take for granted where food comes from. They believe that it just
magically appears in the supermarket for their consumption. They don’t realize that farmers
across the world are working to keep them food on the table. Farmers must take a lot of risk
when they go into business. They must fight weather, animals, insects, etc. to get a make a
living. GM seeds are beneficial to farmers as they help them alleviate various risks they may
face during crop production. However, society justifiably is concerned with this innovative
technology being used in items that will eventually be used for human consumption. They also
are concerned for the environmental ramifications of the usage of the seeds and the chemicals
developed to use alongside them. Often with innovative technology there is no historic data to
help ease concerns but if we allowed that to stop technological growth we may never have found

medicines like penicillin or known if a spacecraft would make it to the moon. People are already
starving daily because of food shortages so change must happen now to save lives in the future.
The Bible states in 2 Corinthians 9:6, (English Standard Version) “He who supplies seed to the
sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest
of your righteousness”.



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