Invisible weapons, visible wars: biological warfare
Biological warfare is the use of biological toxins or infectious agents such as bacteria, viruses, insects, and fungi with the intent to kill or harm humans, animals or plants as an act of war. The use of biological weapons goes as far back as 1346, when Mongols catapulted bodies of plague victims over the city walls of Caffa, infecting those living within city walls. However, much more recently, the 1972 Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) bans the development, production, acquisition and use of biological weapons. The use of biological agents is a serious problem, and the risk of using these agents in a bioterrorist attack is increasing. Non-state actors, like terrorist groups, might opt for the use of biological weapons, as they are difficult to detect and easy to use. Think for instance of the Tokyo subway Sarin attack of 1995, which killed 14 and injured at least a thousand more.
With the start of the corona pandemic, some even wondered if COVID-19 was developed as a biological weapon and released into the world on purpose. It sparked renewed attention for biological weapons and warfare, making it a very timely and interesting issue. Therefore, the JASON Institute has organized a lecture on this topic with two experts in the field who will dive into biological warfare in general and the ethics of biological warfare specifically. With this lecture we aim to answer questions like “how do biological weapons work?” and “what are the main ethical discussions and positions on the use of biological weapons?” Moreover, we are very excited to welcome Koos van der Bruggen, who was part of the Dutch delegation to the Biological Weapons Convention, to share his knowledge on biological warfare with us.
If you’re interested in biological warfare and want to learn more about this interesting topic, make sure to join our event on February 24 from 20:00 to 21:00 at Wijnhaven in room 3.46!