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On the ethics of biological control of insect pests

Abstract

Of the four types of biological control, (1) natural, (2) conservation, (3) augmentation, and (4) importation), ethical concerns have been raised almost exclusively about only one type: importation. These concerns rest largely on fears of extinction of animal species. Importation biological control is a cost-effective alternative to chemical control for basic food crops of resource-poor farmers. Regarding the other types of biological control, natural biological control is not consciously manipulated by humans. Augmentation has some technical concerns, but is generally an environmentally-sound, viable alternative to chemicals and offers local employment. Conservation can help empower farmers to preserve native species, while saving labor and money and reducing chemical insecticides.

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Bentley, J.W., O'Neil, R.J. On the ethics of biological control of insect pests. Agriculture and Human Values 14, 283–289 (1997). https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1007477300339

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  • Biological control
  • Ethical issues
  • Environmental policy