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Should you Clone your Dog? An Animal Rights Perspective on Somacloning

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Abstract:

This paper uses the Missyplicity Project's detailed Code of Bioethics as a starting point for discussion of animal rights perspectives on cloning. Although funded by a couple in order to clone their pet dog, the project has more important collateral goals and forms part of a general line of research that, if successful, promises enormous clinical benefits to humans.

A particular type of animal rights perspective is described and used to evaluate this project. This perspective accepts a principle of axiological anthropocentrism' (PAA), according to which only human beings have certain interests, or a kind of value, which is of pre-eminent moral significance. The best-known animal rights views (those of Singer and Regan) are shown to be consistent with the PAA. This perspective also denies that potential characteristics qualify their possessors for the same type of moral respect as actualized characteristics.

The balancing of potential benefits against risks to research subjects is discussed and it is concluded that, from the particular ethical perspective adopted in this paper, cloning research of this general type is not particularly problematic; and, given its stringent Code of Bioethics, only an abolitionist perspective could condemn the Missyplicity Project in particular.

Keywords: ANIMAL RIGHTS; ANIMAL WELFARE; CLONING; ETHICS

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 1999-11-01

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