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Price of precaution of human-pig chimeras for transplantation purposes

Editorial letter
Authors Christian Munthe
Published in Journal of Medical Ethics
Volume Online first
ISSN 0306-6800
Publication year 2019
Published at Department of Philosophy, Linguistics and Theory of Science
Language en
Links dx.doi.org/10.1136/medethics-2019-1...
https://gup.ub.gu.se/file/207822
Keywords bioethics, xenotransplantation, medical ethics, research ethics, animal ethics, food
Subject categories Practical philosophy, Ethics, Medical Ethics

Abstract

n response to Koplin and Wilkinson, I argue, first, that the uncertain clinical prospects of human-pig chimera based transplantation makes the reason to spend resources for clarifying whether such practice might imply serious ethical breach due to enhanced cognitive capacities of the chimeras rather weak. T he benefits of further pursuing this avenue of research is so uncertain, so that taking even very unclear risks of serious ethical breach (thus in need of clarification for justification of the research) is not worth the price in terms of spent resources, and therefore only limited resources should be spent to clarify such risk before the project is abandoned due to unacceptable risks . Second, I argue that as there are some reason to pursue this avenue further (and thus investigate the risk in question), the analogy to the notion of halting all farming of larger animals for food does not hold up. The reason is that we do not need to probe any further any comparable risk to know that such farming practices should be halted.

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