Book: Oryx and Crake written by Margaret Atwood
“The rakunks had begun as an after-hours hobby on the part of on of the OrganInc biolab hotshots. There'd been a lot of fooling around in those days: create-an-animal was so much fun, said the guys doing it; it made you feel like God. A number of the experiments were destroyed because they were too dangerous to have around – who needed a cane toad with a prehensile tail like a chameleon's that might climb in through the bathroom window and blind you while you were brushing your teeth? Then there was the snat, an unfortunate blend of snake and rat: they'd had to get rid of those. But the rakunks caught on as pets, inside OrganInc. They hadn't come in from the outside world – the would outside the compound – so they had no foreign microbes and were safe for the pigoons. In addition to which they were cute” (Atwood 51).
My first source is an article called “Don't be Afraid of Genetic Modification” written by Emily Anthes. The main topic of the article is how we as a society can justify the deaths of millions of animals used in laboratories in the pursuit of perfecting various genetically engineered animals (Anthes). Anthes argues that government agencies should not ban the genetic engineering of animals based on the lack of ethics in animal testing because doing so could mean “closing the door on innovations that could help us face the public health and environmental threats of the future, saving countless animals – and perhaps ourselves” (Anthes). In essence Anthes tries to justify the deaths of millions of animals by saying that we it is a necessary evil if we as a society want to keep species going from going extinct as well as to find ways that help humans survive. Musunuri 2 The second source I used to formulate my question is an article called “When Does Genetic Modification of Animals Cross a line” written by Ellen Rolfes. As opposed to the first source, this article argues from the view that as it is now, the genetic engineering of animals provides no useful end results for neither humans nor animals that justifies the death of nearly 50 to a 100 million animals every year in laboratories around the planet (Rolfes). Rolfes says that instead of killing millions of animals every year in hope of perfecting genetic engineering to help animals and ourselves, people should focus more on conserving our environment and reducing the amount of pollution we send into the atmosphere so that we wont have to worry about animal species going extinct in the first place.
Do you think that companies should be allowed to freely use genetic engineering to create animals that serve no purpose other than being a novelty or a common household pet like a dog or a cat?
Follow Up Question: Would you be more tolerant to simple genetic modifications such as giving a fish the ability to glow in the dark due to the jellyfish gene compared to an animal produced from gene splicing such as the rakunk from Oryx and Crake which is a mix of a raccoon and a skunk?
Discussion Observations: For my main question which asks if companies should be allowed to create genetically spliced animals that only act as novelties or pets without regulation, the responses were surprisingly mixed. The standard response that many gave to this question was that despite whatever our personal preferences may be regarding the freedom companies should have when it comes to creating new animals that serve no purpose other than being pets, it is a natural step for Musunuri 3 people to eventually be desensitized to any prior moral hastiness we had…