Exploring the Moral and Ethical Aspects of Genetically Engineered and Cloned Animals

Source Organization: Pew Initiative on Food and Biotechnology

01/29/2005 - Public opinion studies have shown that attitudes about the genetic engineering and cloning of farm animals are strongly negative – but also very vague. Many people have difficulty articulating the reasons for their concerns. Some say they object to scientists "playing God;" others "just don't like it." Sometimes it is unclear whether people are reacting to animal biotechnology specifically, or to modern methods of intensive agricultural production in general.

These kinds of responses generate a variety of reactions from those interested in animal biotechnology. Researchers and developers worry since the future market success of any products derived from cloned or genetically engineered animals will partly depend on the public's acceptance of those products. Advocates for animal welfare argue that the strong public concern about cloned and genetically engineered animals reflects specific biotechnology-related ethical concerns that should be taken into consideration by government regulators.

In January 2005, the Pew Initiative on Food and Biotechnology sponsored a two and a half day invitational workshop to explore the moral and ethical aspects of genetically engineering and cloning animals. The Initiative sought to create a forum in which individuals from industry, academia, advocacy organizations, and government could learn how to articulate ethics-based issues and then share their thoughts regarding the ethical and moral aspects of animal transgenesis and cloning. Our fundamental inquiry was whether or not the application of modern biotechnology to animals created novel ethical or moral issues, or whether existing moral and ethical frameworks relating to humans' use of animals could be used to address potential concerns raised by cloned or transgenic animals.

The views that emerged from the workshop are gathered here to help shed light on this developing debate and to provide direction for future exploration of these important issues.

View the Exploring the Moral and Ethical Aspects of Genetically Engineered and Cloned Animals Workshop Report.


January 24, 2005

Welcome and Introduction

Michael Rodemeyer, Pew Initiative on Food and Biotechnology


Speaker 1: Dr. Jim Robl, Hematech, LLC  
Speaker 2: Dr. Chester Gipson, USA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service  
Speaker 3: Dr. Paul Thompson, Michigan State University  
Speaker 4: Dr. Harold Coward, University of Victoria  
Speaker 5: Dr. Bernard Rollin, Colorado State University  
Speaker 6: Dr. Mickey Gjerris, Danish Centre for Bioethics and Risk Assessment
Identification and Discussion of Baseline/Threshold Issues

January 25, 2005

Discussion of the Use of Biotechnology and Animals (in small groups)

Reports from Small Groups

Continue Discussion of the Use of Biotechnology and Animals

January 26, 2005

Discussion of Decision-Making about Animal Welfare and Ethical Issues

Summary of Key Themes, Areas of Agreement and Disagreement, and Potential Recommendations



  • Michael Appleby – Humane Society of the United States  
  • Dan Ashe – Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Department of Interior  
  • Jeffrey Barach – Food Products Association  
  • Fuller W. Bazar – American Society of Animal Sciences  
  • Rebecca Bech – Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture  
  • Dan DiFonzo – Pew Initiative on Food and Biotechnology  
  • Rex Dunham – Auburn University  
  • Orlo (Bob) Ehart – National Association of State Departments of Agriculture  
  • Kara Flynn – National Pork Producers Council  
  • Carol Tucker Foreman – Consumer Federation of America  
  • Glen Gifford – Canadian Food Inspection Agency  
  • Barbara Glenn - Biotechnology Industry Organization  
  • Greg Jaffe – Center for Science in the Public Interest  
  • Gregory Kaebnick – Hastings Center  
  • Carol Keefer – International Embryo Transfer Society  
  • John Matheson – Center for Veterinary Medicine, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services  
  • Elizabeth Milewski – U.S. Environmental Protection Agency  
  • Bill Muir – Purdue University  
  • Jim Murray – University of California, Davis  
  • Albert Paszek - Cargill, Inc.  
  • John Phillips – University of Guelph  
  • Keith Pitts – Pew Initiative on Food and Biotechnology  
  • Jerry Pommer – Hematech, LLC  
  • Michael Rodemeyer – Pew Initiative on Food and Biotechnology  
  • Larisa Rudenko – U.S. Food and Drug Administration  
  • Ron Stottish – Metamorphix, Inc.  
  • Tamiko Thomas – Humane Society of the United States  
  • Paul Thompson – Michigan State University  
  • Deb White – Food Marketing Institute  
  • Leah Wilkinson – National Cattlemen's Beef Association  
  • Elizabeth Wise – Food Marketing Institute

  • Abby Dilley - RESOLVE
    Robert Fisher - RESOLVE

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