The Scotsman has an opinion piece, “Genetic science alters war on animal rights,” by Kirsty Milne, which expresses confusion about what is right and wrong regarding research using animals and human subjects. She focuses on the altering of physical characteristics of different species by genetic manipulation.
While the stealing of a family member’s corpse from the cemetery to intimidate a family raising guinea pigs for science research subjects is horrifically fascinating (and I do apologise for the hyperbole, but really!), what really knocks me back is the fuzziness about the boundaries between people – human subjects – and animals.
As I say at the top of this page: “We are the only species having this conversation.”
And that should be the guage by which we judge – and limit – scientific research: does it endanger our species, a member of our species, or change what it means to be human?
Not every member of the species and even the few who do are able to join the conversatin at all times. But in all the world, the only creatures who will discuss right and wrong will be members of the species, Homo sapiens.
None of us should be comfortable with causing unnecessary pain in the world – whether it be unpleasant nociception for “knock out” mice or apes, all of us should be very uncomfortable with the possibility of changing or ending the life of anyone who might or might have – or whose parents or children might – be able to judge us wrong. Or create a work of art. Or sacrifice themselves for an idea or love.