Week 6/ Biotech ethics / Lam Tran

I am really concerned about the ethics behind biotechnology.

Some of the things freak me out. The best example of this is Steelarc’s third ear in his arm. WHY!!!! Seriously, I think most of the class will agree with me that implanting a third ear is just plain insane. What creeps me out more is that it is suppose to actually work. O.K., growing the flesh in a petri dish is relatively basic compared to the actual wiring into the nerves and recreating all the small parts ( such as the eardrum, hammer, Cochlea, etc ).

http://www.health.state.ny.us/nysdoh/antibiotic/ear.gif

just look at how it looks, how all the tubes are arching about and such. Then again, perhaps it the ear Steelarc might be a simplified version of it and might not be able to hear as well as his normal ears.

However, at least he is subjecting himself to his experiments. If he was to screw up and the ear ends up tasting the air instead of hearing things, at least he is the one responsible for it. Any torture or hardships later in life that came from this biotechnological addon. But what about experiments to animals? I’m mainly going to refer to the GFP bunny that was referred to in the lectures and in one of the readings.

http://transitos.zip.net/images/alba.jpg

I am not a vegetarian. I have clothing made of leather. I use products that are animal tested. Using animals for pharmaceutical testing before humans is, in my opinion, O.K. These are all for utilitarian reasons. There is purpose behind these acts. We gain something tangible. If we test a shampoo on an animal and it gets a rash, that saves humans the pain of having a rash. If a drug accidentally causes vomiting on its test subjects, that saves humans from vomiting. In addition, these products that are derived from animals or have to do with other animals are products on the market that in turn provide jobs and manufacturing, marketing, and retail; they, all together, provide an integral part of the world economy. Although it is not nice to say it, most people think that a human life is more important than any other animals.  However, modifying an animal to “glow” just sucks for the animal. What if the gene modifications do not work right and the rabbit had a terrible skin disorder instead? What if the gene modification created extra limbs instead? And all these risks for what? Aesthetics purposes? There is no real functionality of having a bunch of GFP bunnies about unless the entire world will be enveloped in dark light and you have a bunch of these bunnies around to light up the world. Thankfully, this GFP Bunny was just a frontier. Hopefully, this sort of art does not become popular. Having genetically modified animals as art on display is worse than having a dead animal stuffed on display. Its a freak of nature. And the process of altering the Genes is probably very expensive. The demand for selling this sort of  “art” would probably be low because of the costs and that not very many scientists can do or want to do such a thing.

I’m not apart of PETA. Like I said before, I use products from or tested from animals. As long as the benefit exceeds the cost, that the animals sacrifice somehow improves the lives of others to a reasonable degree, I am perfectly fine with it.

We should just stick with traditional art. We only lose a few plants worth of paint pigment, a few minerals for the sculpture, or some electricity if its digital. Relatively harmless to other organisms ( key word is relatively, its only leaves a small carbon footprint).

Lam Tran

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