In the Shadow of Doctor Moreau: A Contextual Reading of the Proposed Canadian Standard for Xenotransplantation
38 Pages Posted: 16 Aug 2005
Prescient selections from the century-old H.G. Wells novel "The Island of Dr. Moreau" provide rhetorical echoes for this critique of the Proposed Canadian Standard for Xenotransplantation. Xenotransplantation, which is animal-to-human cell, tissue, or organ transplantation, represents one facet of the new areas of development that fall under the general rubric of biotechnology. This developing area has been slowed by the risk posed by infections that may emerge and threaten public health if clinical trials of xenotransplantation proceed. Xenotransplantation also has the potential of great profitability for the biotechnology companies that offer the source animals, particularly if the science should prove successful. This paper first introduces the scientific elements of xenotransplantation. Then, it surveys policy developments in Canada with respect to xenotransplantation. Finally, it turns to the ethical dimension of xenotransplantation, concluding that the nature of the risks and the precautionary principle should necessitate that Canada call for a moratorium on xenotransplantation.
JEL Classification: K10
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation