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Cloning of Animals

Criteria for an Ethical Judgment Formation


  • Abstract:
    Motivated, in particular, by the news spread in March 1997 about the “clone-sheep Dolly”, the cloning of animals has been and still is controversially being discussed among scientists as well as the public; this is done not only with respect to an application to the human being but also as regards an application to the animals themselves. The possibility of producing genetically identical copies of animals – upon request in any number – and by means of the cytoblast-transplantation also of animals that have already reached adulthood, is being linked with high expectations, especially on the part of biological fundamental research, biomedical research and its application as well as on the part of agricultural breeding of farm animals. It does, however, also meet important doubts, which, on the one hand, concern potential side effects that were not intended and, which, on the other hand, regard the intended or intendable goals themselves. 

    Against this backdrop, the Office of Technology Assessment at the German Parliament (TAB) asked the Institute for Science and Ethics (IWE) to conduct a survey carrying the title “Cloning of Animals. Criteria for an Ethical Judgment Formation”. This survey is part of the project “Cloning of Animals” and is allocated to the project segment “Ethical, legal and political judgment”, which is being conducted by the TAB on behalf of the German Federal Parliament’s panel for education, science, research, technology and technological impact assessment.

    An analysis of the ethical approach - which forms the basis of the human rights codifications and, in particular, the basic rights of the German constitution, but also of the effective animal protection law, and which can thus be imputed a well-founded validity beyond the factual standing – constitutes the starting point of the survey. At the same time, consideration is paid to the decisive theories and approaches of animal ethics, which are being advanced in the discussion of the cloning of animals or which are of relevance in this matter. In conclusion, the central aspects to which an ethical judgment regarding the cloning of animals – differentiating both as regards the various procedures or means and the goals called on – can be geared to, are being highlighted in this way.

  • Researcher in charge:
    Prof. Dr. phil. Dr. h.c. Ludger Honnefelder
    Institut für Wissenschaft und Ethik, Bonn


  • Researchers:
    Ingo Hillebrand, M.A.
    vormals IWE, inzwischen Deutsches Referenzzentrum für Ethik in den Biowissenschaften, Bonn

    Dr. phil. Dirk Lanzerath
    vormals IWE, inzwischen Deutsches Referenzzentrum für Ethik in den Biowissenschaften, Bonn


  • Funding period:
    März 1998 - Dezember 1998


  • Funding:
    Teilgutachten im Auftrag des Büros für Technikfolgen-Abschätzung beim Deutschen Bundestag (TAB)


  • Publication:
    Honnefelder, L., Lanzerath, D., Hillebrand, I.: Klonen von Tieren. Kriterien einer ethischen Urteilsbildung. Gutachten für das Büro für Technikfolgen-Abschätzung beim Deutschen Bundestag (TAB) im Rahmen des Projekts «Klonen von Tieren». In: Honnefelder, L., Streffer, C. (Hg.): Jahrbuch für Wissenschaft und Ethik, Bd. 4, Berlin, New York 1999, 293-351 (Abdruck mit freundlicher Genehmigung des TAB).
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