100 | North America and Europe (NAE) Report

Table 3-6. Net UK costs of managing the outbreak of BSE 1996-2005.

£ million











Source: Defra, 2004c.

3.3.1 Impacts of changes in agriculture on community well-being
The social impacts of specialization in agriculture and in­creased scale of agricultural production are primarily re­lated to well-being of communities and farm families. A great deal of evidence produced using at least five different methodologies, involving a number of different researchers and looking at different regions of the US showed detri­mental impacts for community well-being from industrial­ized farming. These studies also showed that industrialized farming involved a tradeoff effect, as it did not consistently produce detrimental effects for all time periods or for all regions, but resulted in beneficial impacts for some groups and detrimental ones for others (Goldschmidt, 1978; Lobao, 1990; Stofferahn, 2006).
3.3.2 Consumer concerns about the food system
There are different attitudes in North America and Europe with regard to GE-derived foodstuffs. While foods from GE crops are available and do not require labeling in North America, in Europe foods derived from GE crops are gener­ally not available and where sold are required to be labeled as containing GE ingredients. This situation is viewed in Eu­rope as a clear reflection of consumer concerns. Some in US industry and government, however, take the view that con­sumers have not yet been offered an adequate opportunity to accept or reject these products, because food manufactur­ers, out of a desire to preserve brand equity have reformu­lated products so they do not trigger mandatory European labeling requirements (Larson, 2002; USTR, 2003; Yoder, 2003; USDA, 2005a). However, some experts have argued that the potential benefits of improved nutrition and increased yields from ge­netic engineering are so important, especially for developing countries, that GE crops should be readily and economi­cally available (Nuffield Council on Bioethics, 1999). Early


development of the technology has not been with poorer countries in mind (Kinderlerler and Adcock, 2003). Rather it has been aimed at securing profits for firms in industrial­ized country contexts selling products to relatively wealthy farmers. While public private partnerships and international agriculture research centers may be developing crops more appropriate to developing countries, general welfare, justice and access should also be considered (Kinderlerler and Ad­cock, 2003). A position that allows each country the right to accept or refuse GE crops, based solely on ethics, is not consistent with the science-based regulatory approach of the World Trade Organization, although as a matter of policy, countries are allowed to set their own level of SPS protection (Kinderlerler and Adcock, 2003). Ethical issues are a major consideration in discussions about biotechnology and animals. A distinction is made be­tween "intrinsic concerns" (genetic engineering as wrong or morally dubious due to the mode of production or the source of the genetic material or "it is unnatural to geneti­cally engineer plants, animals and foods") and "extrinsic concerns"  based on animal welfare perspectives (Kaiser, 2005) and environmental impacts. Reviews such as those published by the Netherlands Advisory Committee on Eth­ics and Biotechnology in Animals and the UK Royal Society (2001) stress the need to consider a range of health and risk implications of genetically engineered animals to humans but also our responsibility to the animals themselves. Intensive livestock production raises several other sig­nificant ethical issues. Treating animals as items on a pro­duction line offends many who feel this is an unacceptable relationship between humans and other species. In western Europe and North America the welfare of farm animals has become an area of increased significance for policy mak­ers (USDA, 2003; Defra, 2004b; Webster, 2005). The mass production of animals to specification undermines tradi­tional livestock businesses, reducing local employment and

Table 3-7. Breakdown of the net cost of managing bovine tuberculosis in Great Britain 1997-2006/7 (£m).

  1997 1998/99 1999/00 2000/01 2001/02 2002/03 2003/04 2004/05 2005/06 2006/07 (provisional)
Cattle testing 5.5 7.3 17.6 13.3 5.4 24.7 33.2 36.4 36.7 37.8
Compensation 1.4 3.5 5.3 6.6 9.2 31.9 34.4 35.0 40.4 24.5
RBCT 1.7 2.9 4.6 6.6 6.0 6.6 7.3 7.2 6.2 1.6
Surveillance activity by the VLA 1.6 1.9 2.4 3.5 3.7 4.1 5.3 4.9 7.5 6.4
Other research 1.7 2.5 3.8 5.3 6.1 6.5 7.0 5.7 6.5 7.8
Q/Overheads 4.1 6.7 4.5 0.9 0.1 0.7 1.0 1.3 1.8 1.7
Totals 16.0 24.8 38.2 36.2 30.5 74.5 88.2 90.5 99.1 79.8

Source: Defra, 2007b.