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Chimera: Animal Ethics of Xenotransplantation


This project combines research and creative practice, with the aim of producing a sustained work of fiction about the bioethics of xenotransplantation and its associated forms of animal abuse and exploitation. Xenotransplantation is the practice of using living animal organs, tissues and cells as medical transplants in human recipients. The gene editing technology known as CRISPR/cas9 is currently being used to create human-pig hybrids, with embryos allowed to develop to 28 weeks before being killed. The fate of these so-called ‘chimeras’ is a particularly malign consequence of human exceptionalism. Ironically, though, because of scientific anxieties about the possibility of making transgenic animals more ‘human’, these non-human animals have the potential to destabilise the species boundary. The creative component of this research aims to uncover and disseminate concealed truths about the present and future abuses of non-human animals in biomedicine and other forms of consumption. This presentation is an excerpt from the creative work in progress, with a brief exegetical component to frame it.

Author bio:

Dr Kate Hall teaches literary studies and graduate research skills at Deakin University, Australia, and is Deputy Convenor of the Deakin Critical Animal Studies Research Network. She writes fiction and creative non-fiction, most recently for Overland, The Grapple Annual and New Community Quarterly, and scholarly work on Indigenous/non-Indigenous cultural relations in Australia. Current research interests include the intersections of queer sexualities and critical animal studies, representations of queer female desire in young adult fiction, and the animal bioethics of xenotransplantation.

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