Wednesday, May 16, 2012
25 years ago: U.S. Commerce Department approves patenting new forms of animal life
On April 16, 1987, the United States Commerce Department announced that inventors would be permitted to patent new forms of animal life through such techniques as gene splicing and genetic engineering. The policy forbade the patenting of new genetic characteristics in humans. A coalition of animal welfare and public policy groups was immediately formed to oppose the new policy. Dr, Michael Fox, a veterinarian and scientific director of the Humane Society, warned that “the entire creative process…is going to be redirected or controlled to satisfy purely human ends,” adding, “We are not only playing God, we are assuming dominion over God."