The concept of intrinsic value and transgenic animals

Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 5 (2):147-160 (1992)
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Abstract

The creation of transgenic animals by means of modern techniques of genetic manipulation is evaluated in the light of different interpretations of the concept of intrinsic value. The zoocentric interpretation, emphasizing the suffering of individual, sentient animals, is described as an extension of the anthropocentric interpretation. In a biocentric or ecocentric approach the concept of intrinsic value first of all denotes independence of humans and a non-instrumental relation to animals. In the zoocentric approach of Bernard Rollin, genetic engineering is seen as a morally neutral tool, as long as the animal does not suffer as a result of it. Robert Colwell who defends an ecocentric ethic, makes a sharp distinction between wild animals and domesticated animals. Genetic manipulation of wild species is a serious moral issue, in contrast to genetic manipulation of domesticated species which is no problem at all for Colwell. Both authors do not take the species-specific nature (or telos) of domesticated animals seriously. When domestication is seen as a process between the two poles of the wild animal and the human construct (which can be patented), the technique of genetic manipulation can only be seen as a further encroachment upon the intrinsic value of animals. At the level of molecular biology, the concept of an animal's telos loses its meaning.

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Citations of this work

Ethics and the genetic engineering of food animals.Paul B. Thompson - 1997 - Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 10 (1):1-23.
A plea to implement robustness into a breeding goal: poultry as an example.L. Star, E. D. Ellen, K. Uitdehaag & F. W. A. Brom - 2008 - Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 21 (2):109-125.
“Würde der kreatur” and the common morality.Ben Mepham - 2000 - Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 13 (1):65-78.

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