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An update to transgenic cows: changes in funding mean that AgResearch is no longer active in biomedical research projects.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.

    Published 18 July 2011, Updated 13 March 2018