Genetic engineering and the moral status of non-human species

Abstract
Genetic modification leads to several important moral issues. Up until now they have mainly been discussed from the viewpoint that only individual living beings, above all animals, are morally considerable. The standpoint that also collective entities such as species belong to the moral sphere have seldom been taken into account in a more thorough way, although it is advocated by several important environmental ethicists. The main purpose of this article is to analyze in more detail than often has been done what the practical consequences of this ethical position would be for the use of genetic engineering on animals and plants. The practical consequences of the holistic standpoint (focused on collective entities) of Holmes Rolston, III, is compared with the practical consequences of the individualistic standpoints (focused on individual living beings) of Bernard E. Rollin and Philipp Balzer, Klaus Peter Rippe, and Peter Schaber, respectively. The article also discusses whether the claim that species are morally considerable is tenable as a foundation for policy decisions on genetic engineering.
Keywords Balzer et al.  genetic engineering  holistic ethical position  Rollin  Rolston
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