Monday, May 05, 2008

Not a Joke: "Right to Life of Plants"

Switzerland Ethics Committee Calls for the Right to Life of Plants

Bern, Switzerland (LifeNews.com) -- A group of Swiss experts are arguing that plants deserve the right to life and that killing them is morally wrong except when it comes to saving humans.

In a report on "the dignity of the creature in the plant world", the federal Ethics Committee on non-human Gene Technology condemned the decapitation of flowers without reason.

In a new article published in this week's Weekly Standard, bioethicist Wesley Smith opines: "Switzerland's enshrining of 'plant dignity' is a symptom of a cultural disease that has infected Western civilization, causing us to lose the ability to think critically and distinguish serious from frivolous ethical concerns.

It also reflects the triumph of a radical anthropomorphism that views elements of the natural world as morally equivalent to people."

Smith notes that once society began to diminish the view of the worth of human beings by abortion, euthanasia and other practices, it makes sense that scientists would push for the rights of plants.

"Our accelerating rejection of the Judeo-Christian world view, which upholds the unique dignity and moral worth of human beings, is driving us crazy. Once we knocked our species off its pedestal, it was only logical that we would come to see fauna and flora as entitled to rights."

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World's First Cloned Horse Gives Birth to Supposedly Healthy Foal

Rome, Italy (LifeNews.com) -- The world's first cloned horse has given birth to a supposedly healthy foal, which makes the process seem successful even though animal cloning requires the destruction of hundreds of embryos in order to give birth to a single successful clone.

Prometea, cloned in 2003 by Italian professor Cesare Galli, gave birth to Pegasus six weeks ago, the London Daily Mail reported.

Professor Galli said that both mare and foal were doing well and added that he planned to create other cloned horses for reproduction.

Galli said he hoped the birth would ease concerns about the health of cloned animals, sparked by the short lifespan of Dolly the sheep, who had to be euthanized because of severe health problems at the age of six.

"Since she was born five years ago, Prometea has turned out to be an absolutely normal animal in excellent health," he said. Dolly was finally created after 300 failed attempts, resulting in miscarriages and malformed offspring.

Ultimately, the "successful" result, Dolly, aged too rapidly. South Korean researchers who cloned wolves also had issues. The wolf cloning wasn't entirely successful as scientists had to transfer 251 wolf embryos into 12 potential surrogate mothers before achieving the birth of a cloned wolf.

That high failure rate was also seen in cloning dogs. To create the first cloned dog, Snuppy, the Seoul National University team killed a total of 1,095 reconstructed dog embryos and transferred them into 123 surrogates, yielding only Snuppy and another dog that died 22 days after birth.

With the first cloned female dog, they killed 167 dog embryos and transferred them into 12 surrogate mothers to produce the three cloned dogs.

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