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Is It Ethical To Engineer Delicious Cows That Feel No Pain?

That’s the question that Jeremy Hsu asks, given innovations in genetic engineering:

In 2006, researchers found six Pakistani children who felt no pain due to an inactivated gene, and who constantly had bruises and cuts. One fell into the habit of putting knives through his hand and walking barefoot on coals, before his untimely death.

Still, scientists already know that humans can intellectually dissociate the sensation of pain from how much it bothers them. Lab experiments with mice have also suggested a way to disconnect that pain sensation without totally leaving animals vulnerable to a world of hurt.

Due the concern among some meat-eaters that the animals that provide their food suffer physical pain while being raised and slaughtered, Hsu wonders if geneticists may be able to create animals that cannot feel pain. Would it be ethical to do so? What do you think?

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Image: Mitch Romanowski Design

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Date
September 3rd, 2009

Author
Stranger to the World

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