"Kent Brockman: Professor, without knowing precisely what the danger is, would you say its time for our viewers to crack each others heads open and feast on the goo inside?
Professor: Yes I would, Kent."
Imagine walking down the street and literally bumping into Bugs Bunny, or Buzz Bunny for that matter, not a fictionalized cartoon character, but a living, breathing rabbit with human attributes. Upset at you for running into him, he glares and wags a carrot in your face.
Seriously, thatâ??s not all, folks.
All you Mouseketeer fans out there --
What happens when you cross a human and a mouse? Sounds like the beginning of a bad joke but, in fact, it's a serious experiment recently carried out by a team headed by a distinguished molecular biologist, Irving Weissman, at Stanford University.
Scientists injected human brain cells into mouse foetuses, creating a strain of mice that were approximately 1% human. Weissman is considering a follow-up that would produce mice whose brains are 100% human.
What if the mice escaped the lab and began to proliferate? What might be the ecological consequences of mice who think like human beings, let loose in nature? Weissman says that he would keep a tight rein on the mice, and if they showed any signs of humanness he would kill them. Hardly reassuring. [ â??Are you a man or a mouse?â? by Jeremy Rifkin, The Guardian, March 15, 2005]
Jeremy Rifkin further states:
Fusing a human and chimpanzee embryo - which researchers say is feasible - could produce a creature so human that questions regarding its moral and legal status would throw 4,000 years of ethics into chaos. Would such a creature enjoy human rights? Would it have to pass some kind of "humanness" test to win its freedom? Would it be forced into doing menial labour or be used to perform dangerous activities?
Letâ??s consider the â??approximately 1% humanâ? mice that have already been created. How much â??humannessâ? would be required to qualify for â??personhoodâ? to gain legal human rights? Mice with 1% or 100% human brains? Or doesnâ??t the brain alone matter for personhood? Our concept of humanity is being challenged.
If animal-human hybrids at some point should qualify for a predetermined personhood status, they feasibly could be affected by ongoing human issues such as reproductive rights, gay marriage, and Social Security benefits, ... or even the right not to be killed while on the job (laboratory specimens). Farfetched? Maybe.
The National Academy of Sciences, America's most august scientific body, is expected to issue guidelines for chimeric research some time next month, anticipating a flurry of new experiments in the burgeoning field of human-animal chimeric experimentation.