Biological Warfare Law and Legal Definition

Biological warfare refers to warfare conducted with the use of biological or infectious agents such as viruses, bacteria, or other disease causing biological agents. These biological agents are delivered through airplanes or ballistic missiles for the purpose of incapacitating humans.

The use of biological agents for warfare has three major forms:

1.Deliberate poisoning of food and water with infectious material;

2.Use of microorganisms, toxins or animals, living or dead, in a weapon system;

3.Use of biologically inoculated fabrics.

The use of biological weapons is prohibited by international law. It is scarcely used in modern times. The first diplomatic effort to limit biological warfare was the Geneva Protocol for the Prohibition of the Use in War of Asphyxiating, Poisonous or Other Gases, and of Bacteriological Methods of Warfare. The treaty, ratified in 1925, prohibited the use of biological weapons. In 1972, the U.S. signed the Biological and Toxic Weapons Convention, which banned the development, production and stockpiling of microbes or their poisonous products except in amounts necessary for protective and peaceful research.