[Man and his fellow-creatures under ethical aspects]

Gotthard M. Teutsch
ALTEX 1998, 15 (4): 163
Since in 1995, ALTEX offered the literary report a kind of journalistic home and - being a scientific journal - opened up even more in the direction of the Arts, the ethical dialogue could gain in shape as well as in colour. To deepen this co-operation even further every fourth issue of the quarterly has "ethics" as its emphasis. This provides the chance to give access in one issue to topical texts which were mentioned in the report but could not be cited in full length. Aside from the consideration of valued personal contacts at this point, the co-operation between ALTEX and the archives for ethics in animal -, nature - and environmental protection at Karlsruhe gains in efficacy. The goal shared by both is the animal report on the development of ethical thought about the relationship between us as humans and our animated environment as it is mirrored in literature. The proximity to ethics is not the only particularity of our project. We also aim to maintain a platform within German professional scientific writing and, at the same time inform through examples form developments in the Anglo-Saxon sphere. A structure of presentation of these topics has developed over the years which still shows features of "happening by chance". Still, it is meant to facilitate access to requested topics. As in former reports, ethical themes predominate. At times, one can get the impression that finding generally acceptable criteria is of particular importance. These criteria are supposed to provide the possibility to divide animals into two groups: The highly developed ones which are to be highly regarded and the others, remaining widely outside of our ethical attention. But this is not all - further arguments are at stake which would permit us to exercise preference regarding human wishes in cases of conflict over the welfare - and survival interests of the animals. In this way, two restrictive models add up in the following manner: First, the scope of animals which have to be paid moral respect is being narrowed and secondly, human interest regarding the use of such animals is allowed clearly higher priority, so that in the balance, the animal hardly has a chance. The tightening of texts will be continued as announced in the preliminary remarks preceding the last report. Its first victim is the realm of biotechnology which could be referred to in a fragmentary manner. In its expanding scope and specialisation it simply cannot be mastered any more. Since personnel cannot be increased proportionally to the growing number of related issues the only remaining choice is the limitation of projects to a manageable level.

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