Iowa State University
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News Service

News Service:

Annette Hacker, director,
(515) 294-3720

Office: (515) 294-4777

04-27-06

Contacts:

Clark Wolf, Bioethics Program, (515) 294-3068

Teddi Barron, News Service, (515) 294-4778

Bioethics Institute at ISU will address bringing ethics into life science classes

AMES, Iowa -- Animal welfare specialist Temple Grandin and agricultural ethicist Paul Thompson will speak at the 2006 Bioethics Institute at Reiman Gardens, Iowa State University, June 5-9.

Hosted by the ISU Bioethics Program, the institute is an intensive, five-day course that helps life science faculty and extension personnel introduce ethics into their classes and activities.

Bioethics refers to ethical issues in agricultural and environmental sciences and policy, veterinary and human medicine, and the life sciences in general, said Clark Wolf, associate professor of philosophy and religious studies and director of the Bioethics Program.

"Faculty and extension personnel are often asked to answer questions related to bioethics," Wolf said. "These questions might be: Who should decide whether genetically engineered food is safe enough for the market? What are our duties to the environment?

"It's as important for scientists and the public to understand the ethical issues involved in answering these questions as it is for non-scientists to understand the biological or scientific facts," Wolf said.

During the institute, attendees participate in debate and conversation about basic principles in applied ethics. Topics include ethical theory; ethics, law and public regulation; animal science and animal welfare; ethics and biotechnology; ethical issues in life science research; environmental and agricultural ethics; and ethics and transgenic technologies.

"We provide a strong background in ethical theory so that participants can lead discussions about ethics with confidence," Wolf said.

Core faculty for the institute are Wolf and Robert Streiffer, professor of philosophy and bioethics, University of Wisconsin at Madison. Streiffer studies the ethical implications of biotechnology and is the author of the book, "Biotechnology and Academic Freedom."

Grandin, who will speak on Monday, June 5, and Tuesday, June 6, teaches animal science at Colorado State University, Fort Collins. She is known throughout the world for her efforts to insure proper and humane stockmanship and for designing humane slaughter facilities. At least half of all cattle in North America are handled in facilities she designed. She is a consultant for McDonalds, Wendy's, Burger King and Swift.

Paul Thompson will speak on Tuesday, June 6. He is W. K. Kellogg Chair in Agricultural, Food and Community Ethics, Michigan State University, East Lansing. A distinguished scholar in agricultural ethics, he is the author of "The Spirit of the Soil: Agriculture and Environmental Ethics." Thompson also is a contributor to the National Research Council report, "The Environmental Effects of Transgenic Plants."

The 2006 Bioethics Institute is the 22nd in a series. The institute, which began at ISU in 1991, has been held here and at several other universities. More than 400 life scientists from around the world have attended the institute.

Participation is limited to 40. Participants receive books, refreshments and lunches. Registration is free to ISU faculty and extension personnel. For others, the fee is $350. Registration deadline is May 15. Application materials are available online at http://www.public.iastate.edu/~ethics/Institute2006.htm#Application. For more information, contact Clark Wolf, (515) 294-3068, jwcwolf@iastate.edu; or Katy Reeder, (515) 294-2566, bioeth1@iastate.edu.

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Quick look

The 2006 Bioethics Institute will be at Reiman Gardens, June 5-9. Plenary speakers are animal welfare specialist Temple Grandin and agricultural ethicist Paul Thompson. The intensive, five-day course helps life science faculty and extension personnel introduce ethics into classes and activities. Participation is limited to 40. Registration is free to ISU faculty and extension personnel. For others, the fee is $350. Registration deadline is May 15. More information.

Quote

"We provide a strong background in ethical theory so that participants can lead discussions about ethics with confidence."

Clark Wolf Director, Bioethics Program