Washington, D.C. — In January 2005, the Pew Initiative on Food and Biotechnology hosted a workshop to explore moral and ethical aspects of genetically engineering and cloning animals. Participants and attendees included animal biotechnology researchers from academia and industry, representatives from the biotechnology and food and agriculture industries, consumer and animal welfare advocates, ethicists and federal and state regulatory officials. Over the course of two and one half days, the assembled group discussed the moral and ethical issues relative to genetically modified and cloned animals and whether those issues differ from the questions raised in regard to conventional animal breeding, production and use. Proceedings from the workshop, entitled “Exploring the Moral and Ethical Aspects of Genetically Engineered and Cloned Animals” are now available on the Pew Initiative website.
• A robust discussion, led by ethicists and religious scholars that clarified some of the ethical and moral issues associated with genetically modified or cloned animals and their subsequent use by humans.
• Acknowledgement that ethical and welfare concerns are factors in whether consumers will accept or reject transgenic animals and the products of animal cloning in the marketplace.
• Uncertainty about the appropriate forum and individuals to address ethical and animal welfare issues relating to biotechnology, since the federal review and approval system focuses on science-based questions relating only to health and safety.
• Recognition that few public forums currently exist in the United States to substantively discuss and consider the moral and ethical implications of transgenic and cloned animals.