Robert Slattery is a writer living in Western North Carolina. He enjoys music and all sorts of other things.
Animal Rights – As if Borges’ Book of Imaginary Beings was some kind of checklist, scientists at the Oregon Primate Center have by bio-witchcraft, made the world’s first “chimeric” monkeys; animals made from the genetic material of six different parents. Their names are Roku and Hex, and they’re kind of cute.
As cute as they might be, they represent a significant moral dilemma regarding humanity’s domain over animal kind. The creation of these animals, to many activists, represents not only a tempering with life in a way it should not be done, but also another complication to animal testing.
Animals have been made in this way in labs before, such as rats and rabbits, but the monkeys, due to their well known similarities to humans, are particularly significant. For some researchers, this development offers a new door for understanding what we know about life and, in particular, human life.
What is being threatened is the definition of what an animal is, in some ways, and the morality claims that may come with this. If a lab-born monkey is considered different than a naturally born animal, it may not be instilled the very limited rights that exist to protect animals from mistreatment and testing. The concerns are very science fiction and very real.
More can be found out at the Daily Mail.