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  • In this activity, students explore how ethical frameworks can be used to guide decision-making on an ethical issue. The activity forms part of the unit plan Ethics of transgenic cows.


    This activity will help students identify ethical issues raised by transgenic animals and find out more about the 5 common ethical frameworks used to guide ethical decision-making – Consequences, Rights and responsibilities, Autonomy and the right to choose for oneself, Virtue ethics, Multiple perspectives.

    The activity will encourage students to discuss the issue of genetically modifying animals to help treat human diseases.

    An update to the transgenic cows research: changes in funding mean that AgResearch is no longer active in biomedical research projects. In its 2017 report to the EPA, AgResearch noted that it still has around 40 transgenic cows in its Waikato containment facility. Most of these cows are for casein and beta-lactoglobulin (BLG) research. Although some research mentioned in the transgenic cows story has ceased, the ethical issues involved in genetic modification of animals remain.


    Ethics, transgenics, ethical frameworks, genetic modification.

    Related content

    The Ethics thinking toolkit uses common ethical frameworks to help you explore ethical decision-making and judgements with your students. For more about ethical frameworks and teaching ethical thinking, see Frameworks for ethical analysis and Teaching ethics.

    See our recorded professional learning webinar in which we use the toolkit and other Science Learning Hub resources to explore ethical issues in various science contexts and to model strategies to support students’ thinking in science.

    This article is a handy curation of all of our resources on transgenic cows, including these activities below:

      Published 18 July 2011, Updated 13 March 2018 Referencing Hub articles
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