Comment to the National Institutes of Health on the Consideration of Certain Research Proposals Involving Human-Animal Chimera Models

September 6, 2016 • Posted in Blog

The proposal by the NIH to allow federal funding for the development of human-animal chimeras is ethically inappropriate on a variety of levels:

  1. A civilization is marked by its treatment of the most vulnerable of its citizens. Human embryos are destroyed in the procurement of human embryonic stem cells. Taking apart microscopic human beings in order to place some of those parts into animals is an immoral activity for any society.
  2. Pursuing the production of human-animal chimeras opens the door to the possibility of having human neural and/or germ cells inside a non-human. Assurances regarding not allowing such human-animal chimeras to breed safeguard neither human beings nor such novel beings.
  3. Legally, our nation has struggled in its understanding of who is a person. Enslavement of persons has been a result. Human-animal chimeras could provide a novel form of enslavement, beyond the curtailing of reproductive freedom.

For these reasons and more, funding human-animal chimera research is an illicit use of our tax dollars.


D. Joy Riley, M.D., M.A.
Executive Director
The Tennessee Center for Bioethics & Culture