Genetic engineers have been remiss in addressing ethical and social issues emerging from this powerful new technology, a technology whose implications for agriculture are profound. As a consequence of this failure, society has been uneasy about genetic engineering of animals and has had difficulty distinguishing between genuine and spurious ethical issues the technology occasions. Many of the most prominent concerns do not require a serious response. On the other hand, concerns about a variety of possible risks arising from genetic engineering of animals require careful consideration and dialogue with the public. Such concerns are an admixture of ethics and prudence. A purely ethical challenge, however, hitherto not addressed, is represented by problems of animal welfare that arise out of genetically engineering agricultural animals. A principle of “conservation of welfare” is suggested as a plausible moral rule to guide such genetic engineering.
Rollin, B. E. (1996). Bad ethics, good ethics and the genetic engineering of animals in agriculture. Journal of animal Science, 74(3), 535-541. https://doi.org/10.2527/1996.743535x