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Animal Enhancement

Animal Enhancement
Project team:

Grunwald, Armin (Project leader); Arianna Ferrari; Christopher Coenen

Funding:Federal Ethics Committee on Non-Human Biotechnology
Start date:


End date:


Research area:

Innovation processes and impacts of technology

Project description

This study looks at the ethical issues of "animal enhancement" in connection with "converging technologies". Starting from the debate on "human enhancement", it is asked whether, in which areas, and for what purpose converging technologies are being used or should be used to "enhance" animals.

The initial hypothesis is that drawing analogies between human enhancement and animal enhancement is not of great help. While the debate on human enhancement is strongly characterized by the basic differentiation between healing and enhancing, this differentiation is largely irrelevant in practical research on animals and in the use of animals. In this area, the idea of "enhancement" is often culturally rooted and means, in most cases, an enhancement of animals for the benefit of humans, e.g. by breeding and husbandry.

For this reason, the project differentiates between different uses of animals by humans, e.g. animals as food, as pets, in sports, or as models for scientific experiments. For each of these types of use, the study examines the areas of "converging technologies" in which current research is aimed at "technological enhancement" or at the modification of animals, at how far this research has progressed, and at what applications are expected and when.

Based on this research and assessment, an "ethical chart" of the relevant fields of ethical reflection (applied ethics) will be prepared in order to, subsequently, identify challenges and provide orientation in the ethical debate. It is apparent that substantial questions will arise also from a scientific theoretical and a philosophical perspective, e.g., questions on the implications for the relationship between humans and animals, on the meaning of animal models, or related to comparisons between animals and robots.



Prof. Dr. Armin Grunwald
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)
Institute for Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis (ITAS)
P.O. Box 3640
76021 Karlsruhe

Tel.: +49 721 608-22500