The 5 most pressing ethical issues in biotechnological medicine: protecting human subjects in clinical trials. Defending the United States against bioterrorism. Technology poses environmental problems when there are environmental exposures that pose a risk to humans, wildlife or the integrity of ecosystems. It has been argued that agricultural biotechnology may pose risks to wildlife in or near agricultural fields.
There are also issues related to the question of whether agricultural ecosystems can themselves exhibit characteristics of ecological integrity. North American approaches to environmental ethics have placed greater emphasis on the third category, namely, non-anthropocentric effects. The preservation of wild and endangered species has been of particular importance in Canada and the United States. In part, this emphasis is due to the fact that environmentalists in Canada and the United States have sought persuasive reasons to set aside the relatively large tracts of undeveloped land that exist in these countries.
Industrial, scenic and recreational uses provide a basis for valuing wild ecosystems in economic terms. The main philosophical tasks have been understood in terms of developing a justification for valuing and preserving wild ecosystems, including key species, regardless of their economic value. Given this orientation, it would be expected that products such as transgenic salmon, which could affect wild salmon populations, would be among the most controversial applications of biotechnology from the perspective of ecocentric environmental ethics.