Maintaining the attention to bodily difference human and
animal ontology has long been constructed on rigid physical
characterizations seemingly untouched by culture. In
“Reframing the Ethical Issues in Part-Human Animal Research,”
Haber and Benham (2012) call into question most
of the formal elements of essentialism that an earlier mode
of thought took for granted. Two views on the nature of human
and interspecies animal bodies are in contention here.
The first offers an argument grounded in the essential developmental
properties of human and animal material and
biological systems such that giving life to “animals with human
derived material,” exemplified by animal–human hybrids
and chimeras, effaces physical distinctions between
animal and human. Dualism is invoked as an interpretive
aid, structuring thought and shaping understanding.
Against nonhuman animals, human life, in all its stages and
forms, uniquely requires some fundamental form of moral
consideration. Because of this presumptive obligation, an
“inexorable moral confusion” is an inevitable by-product
of scientific change, since fixed constructions of animal and
human bodies as unified and separate wholes are lost in any
clear-cut sense (Robert and Baylis 2003).