Debate Magazine

URGENT: Tell the Federal Government to Ban Taxpayer Funding of Chimera Research!

Posted on the 07 September 2016 by Eowyn @DrEowyn

An urgent call from Human Life Action Center:

The federal government’s National Institutes of Health (NIH) recently announced its intention to lift its moratorium on funding research that creates part-human part-animal chimeras by injecting human embryonic stem cells into animal embryos. This means that, for the first time, the federal government will begin spending your tax dollars on the creation of new creatures whose very existence blurs the line between humans and non-human animals.

mouse-rat chimeras

This research is ethically problematic for several reasons, about which the NIH has apparently given little, if any, consideration:

  1. It relies on the killing of humans at the embryonic stage to harvest their stem cells.
  2. It involves the production of animals that could have partly or substantially human brains.
  3. It involves the production of animals that could have human sperm or eggs (with a stipulation that precautions are taken so such animals are not allowed to breed).
  4. It allows the introduction of human embryonic stem cells into animal embryos early in their development such that it may be very difficult to know the extent to which human cells contribute to the final organism.  Consequently, researchers won’t know what their moral obligations may be toward that being.

The NIH asks for public comment, but the period for commenting ends tonight at 11:59 PM (EDT).

Tell your government you don’t want the moratorium lifted!

Here’s a suggested comment that you can copy-and-paste as yours:

I object strongly to the NIH’s proposal to rescind its moratorium on funding of research involving human-animal chimeras.  I do not want my tax dollars being used for grossly unethical research involving the creation and manipulation of part-human, part-animal beings whose very existence blurs the line between humans and non-human animals.  This proposed research raises all the ethical problems of human embryonic stem cell research in general and serious additional problems related to the creation of human-animal beings with partly or substantially human brains and/or human gametes.

I also object strongly to the NIH’s apparent lack of consideration for the ethical issues implicated by this research.  Indeed, the NIH pledged to “undertake a deliberative process to evaluate the state of the science in this area, the ethical issues that should be considered, and the relevant animal welfare concerns associated with these types of studies” when the moratorium was put in place in 2015. Yet, to date there is no evidence of any discussion of the ethical issues involved in creating partly human animals.

I strongly urge you to maintain the current moratorium on funding research involving the creation and manipulation of human-animal chimeras.

Please act now. All comments must be received by 11:59 PM (EDT) tonight.

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