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Legal aspects of animal-human combinations in Canada
This article examines the current legal regime applicable to animal-human combinations under the Assisted Human Reproduction Act (Canada). The Act prohibits as criminal offences the use of non-human reproductive material in humans, the use in humans of human reproductive material previously transplanted into a non-human life form, the creation of chimeras made from human embryos, and the creation for reproductive purposes of human/non-human hybrids. Additional animal-human combinations, such as transgenic life forms, may be regulated pursuant to section 11 of the Act in the future. The underlying concerns of the Act in establishing this regime appear to be the protection of human health and safety, human dignity and individuality, and the human genome. The Act seems calibrated to prohibit the creation of animal-human combinations that are currently unsafe and scientifically and ethically problematic, while leaving open the possibility of regulating other such combinations with more immediate scientific potential, although these also raise ethical questions. Currently, certain differences subsist in Canada between what is permissible for researchers and institutions funded by federal agencies and those in privately funded research. The development of the regulatory framework under the Act will reveal how freedom of research will be balanced against the need for scientifically valid and ethically justifiable research, and whether these differences will continue to apply.
Publisher(s)McGill Health Law Publication
BORDET Sylvie, Sabrina FELDMAN et Bartha Maria KNOPPERS, "Legal aspects of animal-human combinations in Canada", (2007) 1:1 McGill Health Law Publication, 83