An Introduction

 Recently I’ve become more aware of the moral and ethical dilemmas surrounding animal suffering. In my First Year Seminar, Killing and Saving, we have been debating the idea that animals deserve equal moral consideration, reading articles by utilitarian animal activist, Peter Singer. As an avid pet-lover and a dedicated volunteer at a pet shelter, I find myself siding with Singer. In particular, Singer has encouraged me to think objectively about animal exploitation and the popular practice of genetic modification in our culture.

To investigate this topic further, I conducted a few short interviews with students on my floor. One pre-med major named Walker surprised me as he looked at the topic from a cross-cultural perspective. Walker described to me his experiences abroad in Kenya, where there is never enough food to go around. He specifically recalls interacting with children who were forced to eat mud when their main food, ugadi, was in short supply. In many instances, these children consumed parasites and became even more malnourished and sickly. According to Walker, “genetically modified crops have the potential to ensure food production in Kenya and other less developed nations.”

While I am a strong supporter of combating hunger, I can’t help but wonder about the negative consequences associated with consuming and distributing GMOs. For class, we read “Eating Christmas in the Kalahari” which describes how food in some cultures is distributed equally, placing no one person above someone else. This egalitarian system works well in cultures where resources are limited (Angeloni, 2013: 10).  Wouldn’t introducing genetically modified foods into these environments force them to change their system and rethink their humble cultural practices? Through this blog, I hope to learn more about how GMOs affect our culture as well as cultures across the globe.

Walker Smock, tape-recording, Norton, Massachusetts, 7 October 2013

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1 Response to An Introduction

  1. Sarah,

    I thought that you blog was an absolute joy to read! I am very against GMO’s and to me I feel that the potential risks that genetically modified seeds and organisms can cause are far too great to toy with. I liked reading your blog because I thought that you practiced cultural relativism very well, and you provided valid sources and also a very wide range. Other blogs that I looked at did not contain videos, pictures and interviews, but you combined all in a cohesive way that was easy to understand and follow.

    I like that you took time to notice day to day habits with your eating and it seemed as though the blog made you more aware and was an effective and useful assignment for you. Your blogs shows off your ability to find many different sources which you tried and succeeded at making sense of! I liked the way that you wrote and expressed your thoughts as well. Professor made it clear when we first began writing our blogs that she did not want them to be in any kind of essay form. Your blog shows of your thought process and displays how you dealt and examined these questions. I think that this blog is impressive because it seems as though you were thinking about your blog entries as you were going through your day. I loved it!

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