Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 13 (3-4):229-247 (2000)
|Abstract||A survey was conducted in the United Statesin 1998 and 1999 to determine what members of theNational Association of State Universities and LandGrant Colleges (NASULGC) and of the AmericanAssociation of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU)offered agricultural ethics as an undergraduatecourse. Of the 59 responses, the survey found 15 USuniversities that have a course on agricultural ethicsor one that includes the topic. This paper willdiscuss the survey's findings and offer six reasonsthat explain why so few universities includeagricultural ethics in their curriculum. The sixreasons are: 1) lack of education in ethics andphilosophy on the part of agricultural scientists; 2)lack of institutional or disciplinary incentives foragricultural scientists to reflect on their work andits effects; 3) lack of administrative leadership incolleges of agriculture due to their failure tounderstand the benefits of agricultural ethics; 4)continuance of the prevailing assumption thatagriculture is inherently ethically correct; 5) thefelt necessity by agricultural scientists to defendthemselves against what are perceived to be unjust andinaccurate criticisms of agriculture; and 6) areluctance to engage in ethical reflection because itmay raise more problems than it solves. The paper'scentral question is why ethics is not taught in morecolleges of agriculture. Those who teach know thattheir students are tomorrow's farmers, businesspeople, professors, and policy makers. If we who nowteach and administer fail to include true ethicalstudy in our student's education, our students willstill be defensive when confronted with an ethicalissue and unable to respond except with assertionsbased on the production paradigm, the correctness ofwhich, although unexamined, we taught them. If theagricultural faculty does not recognize theopportunity and the obligation to participate in theshaping of values, then the values of agriculture willbe shaped elsewhere in the institution and insociety.|
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