Ethics, economics, and the environment

This page contains the resources for curriculum Level 4 and 5. Students can explore animal welfare, biosecurity and food safety systems from the perspective of ethics, economics, and the environment.

Resource overview

This page contains the resources for Level 4 and 5. A range of ecosystems and primary industries are drawn on as contexts for learning. These resources collectively link to 4 learning areas: Health and Physical Education, Science, Social Studies, and Technology.

Resource framework for Levels 4 and 5

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Health and Physical Education

Food is a significant factor in our health and well-being, and it is important that we understand what is in the food that we eat and how those foods and ingredients affect our health. Some people follow a certain diet to manage a health condition (diabetes, heart problems), food allergies and intolerances (lactose intolerance, coeliac disease) or pregnancy. Others are influenced by cultural protocols (halal, kosher) or personal values and beliefs (vegetarian or veganism). We are bombarded by advertising, labelling, and attractive packaging, however many consumers may not have an accurate understanding of healthy diet and good nutrition. In recent times, some foods have even been labelled as ‘superfoods’, and food labels and advertising often make health-related claims.

This resource encourages students to explore the food system from a consumer health point of view.

Main things to understand

  1. food labels provide consumers with a broad range of information
  2. food labels support our health and well-being.

Food and you – the importance of food labelling for health [PDF, 722 KB]

Science

The living world is made up of a series of ecosystems, each of which contains a collection of interdependent species and organisms. There are natural ecosystems that have evolved over millions of years and cultivated ones developed over thousands of years. Our cultivated ecosystems in New Zealand are much more recent and are the backbone of our primary industries. Actions we take can impact directly or indirectly on the living organisms in these ecosystems and can sometimes have unexpected consequences. Our actions can produce risks and hazards that disrupt the balance in these ecosystems and impact on the welfare of plants and animals within them. The long-term effects of human activity on natural ecosystems may be catastrophic unless we take responsibility for protecting our native and cultivated assets. In cultivated ecosystems human activity can also have economic consequences.

This resource encourages students to explore the science and the role of scientists underpinning the animal welfare, biosecurity and food systems.

Main things to understand

  1. The living world is made up of a series of ecosystems, each of which contains a collection of interdependent species and organisms.
  2. Biosecurity incursions can threaten culturally significant native species and have economic impacts on our primary industries.
  3. Biosecurity measures help protect our animals and crops from diseases and pests.
  4. Microorganisms are important to the primary industries, providing both opportunities and risks.
  5. We have responsibilities toward animals in our care and those affected by our activities.
  6. Some plants or animals pose more risk to our primary industries in some regions of New Zealand than in others.

A science lens on animal welfare, biosecurity and food [PDF, 2.5 MB]

Social studies

Innovation in the primary industries creates opportunities and challenges for different individuals and groups as well as the natural and social environment. The primary industries are an important economic force in New Zealand and it must be well supported by codes of practice and legislation to optimise environmental and social sustainability with a view to future generations.

This resource encourages students to explore social and regulatory drivers and impacts through the contexts of the animal welfare, biosecurity and food systems.

Main things to understand

  • The transportation of food and animals around the world has significant impacts on the environment and requires supporting regulations.
  • Our borders, both sea and air, provide us with some protection but can be breached and require increasingly sophisticated management.
  • Consumers support animal welfare for ethical and practical reasons.
  • High standards of animal welfare can result in better economic returns for producers.
  • Innovation is important in the primary industries.

A social perspective on animal welfare, biosecurity and food [PDF, 1.6 MB]

Technology

In the primary industries we must use creative and critical technological thinking to help us live in a large land mass with a fragile ecosystem and a small population.

The ‘number 8 wire’ tradition reflects New Zealanders’ history of inventing solutions for problems with the only material they had to hand, wire for fencing stock paddocks. This resourcefulness and ability to innovate continues to drive the agricultural sector. It faces increasing challenges increasing food production, maintaining biosecurity, and promoting and supporting animal welfare.

This resource encourages students to explore technology through the contexts of the animal welfare, biosecurity and food systems.

Main things to understand

  1. Technological innovation and advancement are important to the development and maintenance of the food system, animal welfare, and biosecurity.
  2. Research and technological development in the primary industries influences local, national and global markets.
  3. The success of technology can be determined by the perception of those who use or benefit from it.
  4. New technologies may impact positively and negatively on environmental and economic sustainability.

A technological approach to animal welfare, biosecurity and food [PDF, 2.5 MB]

Find out more

Who to contact

If you have any questions about the information on this page, email info@mpi.govt.nz

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