Case Study Sample on Central Facts in the Case and the Assumptions Made

Ethics Case Study

Central Facts in the Case and the Assumptions Made

There are several central facts in the case. Firstly, scientists are modifying the genetic composition of plants such as apples, rice and corn. In response, policy makers in different countries including Switzerland and Ecuador have enacted legislations that recognize the intrinsic value of plants and natural resources, protecting the sanctity of all living organisms and promoting sustainability. I have made several assumptions based on these facts. The first assumption is that plants and animals feel pain. As a result, what humans do plants and animals matter. The second assumption is that plants and animals have interests, especially interest in evading pain and suffering.

Major Ethical Issues in the Case

The first ethical issue that arises from the case relates to whether it is ethical right or wrong to create genetically modified food products.  The second ethical issue relates to the ethics of suing plants and animals as food by humans. If both plants and animals have rights then doing so amounts to taking their rights. Yet, for humans to survive, they must use these plants and animals as a source of food. Thirdly, is it ethical for scientists to change inherent animal and plant characteristics?  Similarly, should humans accord different rights to different living things? For example, should viruses be treated differently from bacteria?

Identification of Stakeholders in the Case and Their Stakes

            There are various stakeholders in the case. The first group of stakeholders is the non-human species that include flora (rice, apples and corn), animals (dogs, fish) and the ecosystem (forests and rivers). The interest of this stakeholder group is their survival and sustainability. The second stakeholder is the human species. Their interest is to use other living beings to support their existence.

Answers to Questions in the Case

Question 1

By definition a stakeholder is an individuals or groups affected by policies, actions, or decisions of an organization, a business or a firm. Plants therefore qualify to be primary non-social stakeholders because they are non-human species. Flora has rights because each plant type has a unique genome that permits plants to be categorized into species. As a result, genetically modified produce potentially changes the genetic integrity of a particular species. Consequently, this distorts the line between different species thereby endangering their identity.

Question 2

In my view, the decisions are too extreme. Whereas sustainability and protection of stakeholder rights is important, doing so through legislation may be too extreme. This is because it is impossible to completely eradicate conflicts between organisms. Humans have to directly consume some non-humans (plants and animals) for them to survive. In addition, they have to utilize the natural environment and in so doing, they compete with animals and plants that utilize the same environment as their home.

Question 3

The implications for business decisions of the Swiss and Ecuadorian decisions is that businesses have to be more careful otherwise they risk being punished for violating the law. Some of the businesses that will be most affected include the timber industry, timber business, the flower and horticulture industry and even the food industry. These decisions have the potential to limit business operations. There are boundaries to stakeholders` rights. Given that there are many stakeholders, it is impossible to please all them at the same time. A stakeholder`s influence and power determines the limit of its rights.