Harming Some to Enhance Others

In Simon Bateman, Jean Gayon, Sylvie Allouche, Jerome Goffette & Michela Marzano (eds.), Inquiring into Animal Enhancement. London: Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 49-78 (2015)
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Let us call the deliberate modification of an individual’s genome to improve it or its progeny intentional genetic enhancement. Governments are almost certain to require that any proposed intentional genetic enhancement of a human (IGEH) be tested first on (what researchers call) animal “models.” Intentional genetic enhancement of animals (IGEA), then, is an ambiguous concept because it could mean one of two very different things: an enhancement made for the sake of the animal’s own welfare, or an enhancement made for the sake of satisfying a human desire. In either case, experimental procedures are likely to entail substantial risks to the experimental animals. What rules should govern IGEA? I criticize the abolitionist conclusions of animal rightists—that no IGEA should be permitted—and I criticize the permissive conclusions of speciesists—that all IGEA should be permitted. Both views are unsatisfying. I suggest instead that current animal welfare law provides a defensible platform on which to begin building ethically justifiable policy in this area.
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