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Dec 14, 2012 (4 years and 10 months ago)

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Animals

and Modern Biotechnology


March 15, 2005

Robert Streiffer, Ph. D.


Department of Philosophy

Department of Medical History and Bioethics

Department of Medical Sciences, School of Veterinary Medicine

University of Wisconsin
-
Madison


rstreiffer@facstaff.wisc.edu

http://philosophy.wisc.edu/streiffer/

Animal Use Figures

1.
Approximately 10 billion animals are raised and
killed for food in the U.S.

A.
9,390 million broiler chickens

B.
364 million layer hens

C.
279 million turkeys

D.
128 million pigs

E.
38.9 million cattle and calves

2.
Approximately 50 billion worldwide.

3.
Estimates range from 20 million to 100 million for
the number of animals killed in medical research
each year.

Techniques: AI & Sperm Injection

1.
A single sperm is injected via a glass needle into an
egg held by a suction pipette.

Techniques: Genetic Engineering

1.
Microinjection is the procedure of choice.


2.
Either genes or genetically engineered stem cells
can be injected.

Techniques: Genetic Engineering

1.
To insert genes: the researcher holds an early
embryo using suction from a holding pipette, while a
glass needle is used to inject several hundred
copies of the gene into the pronucleus of the
embryo. The pronucleus contains the chromosomes
from both parents but they haven’t been joined yet.


2.
The embryos of different species differ in how easy
is it to see the pronucleus, and how easy it is to
insert the needle into the embryo, which effects the
ease with which microinjection can be done.

Techniques: Genetic Engineering

1.
To insert GE stem cells, inject ten to fifteen embryonic stem
cells that have been genetically engineered.


2.
If the inserted cells go on to form the basis for the organism as
it continues to develop, most or all of the cells in the resulting
organism will be genetically engineered.

Techniques: Marking & Identification

1.
A very small percentage of embryos actually carry
the additional genes, and even in some of the ones
which do carry the additional genes, the genes
aren’t active.


2.
To identify engineered organisms, one can join the
gene of interest with another gene with an obvious
phenotypic effect, such as hair color or
bioluminescence, and then implant the embryo into
a recipient female whose offspring would normally
lack that phenotypic effect. Offspring which have the
phenotypic trait can then be visually identified.

Techniques: Marking & Identification

An ad for a
company which
makes transgenic
mice for
research. Note
the coat color on
the back
indicating cells
from two different
sources.

Techniques: Marking & Identification

This mouse had a
gene from a
jellyfish which
expresses green
fluorescent
protein. This
technique is
widely used to
demonstrate the
presence of
engineered
genetic changes.

Techniques: Marking & Identification

Techniques: Embryo Twinning

1.
Produces identical twins. Can be used to generate genetically
matched controls for research, or to increase the rate of
reproduction for prize livestock.

Technique: Cloning

Somatic cell nuclear transfer
cloning: In 1996, Ian Wilmut
and his colleagues reported
that they had successfully
cloned an adult sheep, Dolly,
using a process known as
somatic cell nuclear
transplantation cloning.

Techniques: Cloning

Applications: Developmental and

Basic Research

1.
Researchers at a university
in England discovered that
there is a single gene
responsible for the
morphological development
of the head in the mouse.
They knocked out the gene
(left). The mouse on the
right is a normal mouse
fetus at term.

2.
The mouse on the left
survived fine in utero, but
died when it was born and
the umbilical cord was cut.

3.
Researchers hope this will
shed light on anencephaly
and on other central
nervous system disorders.

Applications: Developmental and

Basic Research

In January 2001, Schatten et
al. at the Oregon Regional
Primate Research Center
created ANDi by inserting into
his germline a jellyfish gene
for bioluminescence. The
gene is present, but inactive.


More recently, UW reseachers
inserted a bioluminescence
gene into a primate embryo,
which developed into
bioluminescing placental
tissue.

Applications: Disease Models

1.
Make animals more biologically similar to human beings. E.g.,
the shiverer mouse used to study multiple sclerosis.


2.
The defect was a natural mutation, similar in effect to multiple
sclerosis in humans.


3.
“The cells that produce myelin, the insulation around axons,
the long conducting fibers that protrude from the bodies of
nerve cells and carry the signals. Without this insulation, the
fibers experience shorts, and the electrical impulse that
normally should flow smoothly down the axons moves in fits
and starts. The net result is that, instead of calmly walking,
sniffing, and eating, like most other mice, an affected mouse
shivers constantly and uncontrollably.”


Applications: Disease Models

Applications: Disease Models

HIV normally will
only cause disease
in humans and
chimpanzees. By
knocking out a
mouse’s immune
system and using
human stem cells to
create a human
immune system, HIV
mice are susceptible
to AIDS.

Applications: Xenotransplantation

1.
In 1984, Baby Fae
received the heart of a
baboon and survived
for three weeks.


2.
Genetic modifications
can make the donor
more compatible with
the recipient, thus
reducing the chance of
rejection by the
recipient’s immune
system.

Applications: Xenotransplantation

Required between 115
-
164 transfers per arm to
produce 4 healthy
cloned piglet and 5
additional pregnancies


Researcher say that the
techniques “should allow
the use of genetic
modification procedures
to produce tissues and
organs from cloned pigs
with reduced
immunogenicity for use
in xenotransplantation.”

Applications: Growth Hormone Genes

1.
The Beltsville hogs had
a human gene for
growth hormone
inserted into their
genome.


2.
The gene resulted in
an increased pace of
growth, arthritis,
blindness, and general
suffering. The
experiment was
stopped early and the
hogs were euthanized.

Applications: Growth Hormone Genes

Applications: Alter Environmental Impact

Researchers at the University of
Guelph in Ontario, Canada,
reported in
Nature
Biotechnology

that they had
spliced E. Coli and mice genes
into pigs which caused them to
produce phytase in their saliva.
The phytase broke down
phosphorous in their diet,
resulting in a 75% reduction in
the amount of phosphorous in
their manure, compared to a
56% reduction achievable by the
present method of adding
phytase to feed.

Applications: Conservation Biology

Noah, the first cloned endangered species. Noah is
a gaur, a species endangered by hunting and
habitat loss. Using embryo transfer, she was
implanted in a cow. She made it to term, but died
two days after birth.

Applications: Pharming

Tracy has been genetically engineered by PPL
Therapeutics to produce alpha1
-
antitrypsin (AAT),
useful for treating emphysema.

Applications: GE Art

1.
Eduardo Kac and Alba


2.
"GFP Bunny" was realized in
2000 and first presented
publicly in Avignon, France.
Transgenic art … is a new art
form based on the use of
genetic engineering to transfer
natural or synthetic genes to an
organism, to create unique
living beings. This must be
done with great care, with
acknowledgment of the
complex issues thus raised
and, above all, with a
commitment to respect, nurture,
and love the life thus created.”

Applications: GE Pets

“Fluorescent zebra fish were
specially bred to help detect
environmental pollutants. By
adding a natural fluorescence
gene to the fish, scientists are
able to quickly and easily
determine when our waterways
are contaminated. The first step
in developing these pollution
detecting fish was to create fish
that would be fluorescent all the
time. It was only recently that
scientists realized the public's
interest in sharing the benefits of
this research. We call this the
GloFish

fluorescent fish.”

Applications: Pet Cloning

1.
Below are Baba Ganoush and Tabouli, both clones of Tahini, created
by Genetic Savings & Clone, Inc.

2.
Cost: $50,000.

3.
They say they can even clone a dead animal, so long as they get the
relevant tissue sample within five days of the animal’s death.

4.
GSC offer a money
-
back guarantee for both health and resemblance.

5.
Plan to start cloning dogs in 2005.

Ethical Issues

1.
Environmental Issues

A.
Effect on the Environmental Impact of
Agricultural Practices

B.
Environmental Impact of Intentional or
Unintentional Release


2.
Animal Ethics Issues

A.
Indirect Duty Views

B.
Sentience and Animal Welfare

C.
Regan’s Rights
-
Based View

Environmental Impact

1.
Agriculture does more environmental damage than any other
single industry.

A.
Soil compaction

B.
Methane and nitrogen production

C.
Inefficient use of land required to produce animal feed

D.
Manure and pollutant run off


2.
If an application of modern biotechnology will ameliorate these
harms, then, other things being equal, it is permissible.


3.
If an application will exacerbate these harms, then, other
things being equal, it is not permissible.



Example: Phosphorous Pollution

According to the EPA, manure concentrations are "among the
greatest threats to our nation's waters and drinking water supplies.”
Phosphorous in the manure leaks into the soil and ground water,
and causes algae blooms and weed growth in waterways which kill
aquatic life.

Will the Enviropigs Help?

Yes: "It demonstrates that genetically modified animals can have a
beneficial effect on the environment
-

that the two can go hand in
-
hand.” Harry Gilbert, an agricultural biochemist at the University of
Newcastle, UK.


No: The limiting factor on the size of hog farms is the regulatory
limit on phosphorous output. Speaking generally, Clare Schlegel,
chairperson for Ontario Pork, says: “The environmental barriers are
the largest in terms of growing as an industry.” So it might be the
case that rather than reducing overall phosphorous output, the hog
farms will just get larger, with a resulting increase in the other
negative environmental impact of the farms.


Environmental Impact of Intentional or
Unintentional Release

Negative impact on other species

1.
Risks are similar to exotic species which can become
invasive

A.
Africanized honey bee

B.
Gypsy moth

C.
Feral pigs

2.
Risk is increased if the transgene enhances ecological
adaptation

A.
Salt water tolerance in fish

B.
Cold tolerance

C.
Increased growth rate or final size

D.
Disease resistance

E.
Nutrient utilization

Environmental Impact of Intentional or
Unintentional Release

Negative impact on the same species


1.
According to a model developed at Purdue, fish which have
been genetically engineered to grow more quickly would
out compete their non
-
engineered counterparts in getting
mates, yet the offspring are less fit (The so
-
called “Trojan
-
Gene Effect”). The result could be decimation of the wild
population. Other models, however, have yielded
conflicting results.


2.
It appears to be unclear at the present time whether the
risk can be adequately managed by inducing sterility and
using containment procedures.

Characteristics Affecting Risk

Organism

Mobility

Ability to live
outside
captivity

Ability to
escape
captivity

Rodents

High

High

Low

Fish

High

High

High

Moth

High

High

High

Cow

Low

Low

Low

Chicken

Low

Low

Low

Pigs

Low

High

Moderate

Bill Muir, “Ecological Risk Issues Associated with Transgenic Animals”

Indirect Duty Views: Descartes

1.
Rene Descartes argued
that animals were not
conscious on the
grounds that they lacked
language and reason.


2.
And because he
thoughts that animals
weren’t conscious, he
concluded that we had
no direct duties towards
them.

Indirect Duty Views: Kant

1.
If an organism is incapable of judgment, then cannot have
any ends of its own.

2.
If an organism cannot have any ends of its own, then one
cannot consider its ends in considering how to treat it.

3.
If one cannot consider an organisms ends in considering
how to treat it, then one cannot treat it as an end in itself.

4.
If one cannot treat an organism as an end in itself, then one
may treat it merely as a means.

5.
Hence, if an organism is incapable of judgment, then one
may treat it merely as a means.

6.
Animals are incapable of judgment.

7.
Hence, one may treat animals merely as a means.

Indirect Duty Views: Kant


Nonetheless, Kant said that we have indirect duties to take
care of animals that have taken care of us, and to be kind to
animals and to refrain from cruelty to animals


1.
Treating animals badly instills in oneself a tendency to treat
people badly.


2.
We have a duty not to treat people badly.


3.
If we have a duty not to treat people badly, then we have an
indirect duty not to do that which instills in ourselves a
tendency to treat people badly.


4.
Hence, we have an indirect duty not to treat animals badly.

Indirect Duty Views: Kant

1.
Because people own animals, treating an animal badly might
violate a duty towards the owner of the animal; and


2.
Because animals can be instrumentally useful in morally
valuable projects, treating an animal badly might undermine
that usefulness.

Bentham and Feinberg

Jeremy Bentham: “The morally
relevant question about animals is
not, Can they
reason
? or Can they
talk
? But can they
suffer
?”



Joel Feinberg: “A skeptic might
deny that a toothache hurts a lion
as much as it does a human being,
but once one does concede that
lion pain and human pain are
equally pain

pain in the same
sense and the same degree

then
there can be no reason for denying
that they are equally evil in
themselves.”

Sentience and Animal Welfare Views

1.
Research on animal cognition supports what most people
believe they know simply on the basis of common sense and
personal experience, namely that many animals are sentient,
and hence, conscious.


2.
Gary Varner (1998) “[T]he authors of the most detailed
treatments of the issue to date … have all reached the same
conclusion: while all vertebrates can probably feel pain, most
invertebrates probably cannot (the notable exception being the
cephalopods).”


3.
And if an organism can feel pain, then we at least have one
direct duty to it: other things being equal, we shouldn’t cause it
pain.

Duties to Minimize Animal Suffering

1.
Unless one believes the implausible claim that the present
genotype of every animal is ideal from the perspective of that
animal’s welfare, not all genetic engineering is going to cause
animals to suffer.


2.
If a specific application of genetic engineering will benefit
animal welfare, then, other things being equal, we should do it.

A.
E.g., disease resistance


3.
If a specific application of genetic engineering will harm animal
welfare, then, other things being equal, we should not do it.

Problematic Applications of Biotechnology

1.
Growth hormone genes into pigs

A.
Sterility

B.
Decreased immune function

C.
Arthritis


2.
Muscle development genes into lambs

A.
Loss of mobility


3.
Disease Models


4.
Organ and tissue transplantation (if it involves suffering)


5.
Pharmaceutical production in livestock

A.
Stress due to isolation

Regan’s Rights
-
Based View

1.
Animals have the same “basic rights” as normal
adult humans do.


2.
These include an absolute right against being killed,
tortured, or used as “mere resources for others.” We
can abbreviate this by saying that animals have “an
absolute right to be treated with respect.”


3.
Regan takes his rights view to imply abolitionism:
morality requires not just the more humane
treatment of animals, but the total abolition of their
use in science, the total dissolution of commercial
animal agriculture, and the total elimination of
commercial and sport hunting and trapping.

Regan’s Objection to Indirect Duty Views

1.
To those who claim that animals do not feel pain,
Regan responds that they will be committed to the
“position that no human being feels pain either”
(502).


2.
To those who claim that animal pain is morally
irrelevant, Regan responds, “If your neighbor’s
causing you pain is wrong because of the pain that
is caused, we cannot rationally ignore or dismiss the
moral relevant of the pain that your dog feels.”
(502).

The Cruelty/Kindness View


The only direct duties we have to animals is to be
kind to them and to not be cruel to them.


Regan’s Objection:


1.
The presence of kindness and the absence of
cruelty does not guarantee that an act is right.


2.
According to the C/K View, it would.


3.
Hence, the C/K view is false.

Interest Utilitarianism


The only direct duty we have to animals is to give
their interests equal consideration.


Follows from the more general:



X is morally required to A if and only if X’s A
-
ing will,
of the actions open to X, maximize the net balance
of interest satisfaction and frustration.


Regan’s “Inherent Worth” Objection

1.
Interest Utilitarianism implies that people have no
“inherent worth” (504).


2.
But people do have inherent worth.


3.
Hence, Interest Utilitarianism is false.



The Aunt Bea Counterexample (504)

Regan’s “Unfortunate Humans” Argument

1.
All people have inherent value, and they have it equally.


2.
So, even so
-
called “unfortunate humans” have the same inherent
value as a normal human adult.


3.
Animals do not differ from unfortunate humans in any way that affects
their moral value.


4.
So, animals have the same inherent value as a normal human adult.


5.
If an individual has the same inherent value as a normal human adult,
then it has an absolute right to be treated with respect. (505
-
506)


6.
So, animals have an absolute right to be treated with respect.



What underlies the equal inherent worth of all human beings is that
“we are each of us the experiencing subject of life, a conscious
creature having an individual welfare that has importance to us
whatever our usefulness to others” (506).

Machan’s Welfarist View


Because animals are sentient, they have some moral standing and
they should not be caused “unnecessary” pain and suffering.
However, humans have a higher degree of moral standing that makes
it permissible for humans to use animals for their own benefit.


1.
The function of rights is to protect an organism’s “moral space” (509).

2.
An organism has a moral space only if it is a moral agent.

3.
So, an organism cannot have rights if it is not a moral agent.

4.
Animals are not moral agents (509
-
510).

5.
So, animals do not have rights.



An organism’s moral standing depends upon the place of its kind in
the “hierarchical structure of nature (512
-
513). The hierarchy moves
from individuals that are not evaluated at all, to those that are
evaluated in terms of how well or badly they are doing, but not in
terms of how well or badly they are behaving, to those which are also
evaluated in terms of how well or badly they are behaving.

Warren’s Critique

Strong AR Position: Animals have the same basic rights as we do.

Weak AR Position: Animals have rights against being harmed or
killed, but their rights are less stringent than that of humans.


1.
If inherent value does not admit of degrees, then the properties
upon which it supervenes do not admit of degrees either.

2.
But the properties upon which it supervenes do admit of
degrees.

3.
Hence, inherent value also admits of degrees.



Animal rights are less stringent than human rights because
“people are at least sometimes capable of being moved to
action or inaction by the force of reasoned argument” (520).
This is morally relevant because it provides us with “greater
possibilities of cooperation and for the nonviolent resolution of
problems” (520). If animals were capable of being rationally
persuaded, then morality would require us to choose that over
harming or killing them. But they are not so capable (520).