A licence came into effect on July 1st 2008 permitting the Clinical Sciences Research Institute, University of Warwick to create human-pig hybrid embryos for research.
Christian Concern For The Nation state that it “is purportedly enacted under the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act of 1990, the reality is that the 1990 Act clearly does not allow the HFEA to grant such licences. The Christian Legal Centre, together with Comment on Reproductive Ethics, has already filed legal papers for a Judicial Review over the decisions earlier this year by the HFEA to grant licences to Newcastle University and King’s College London for their research into degenerative diseases using animal-human hybrids.
Furthermore, it is important to note that, even if the HFEA were granted the power under the 1990 Act to grant licences for the creation of animal-human hybrid embryos, the 1990 Act provides that no licences may be granted at all unless: (1) the licence appears to be necessary or desirable for one of a number of articulated purposes and (2) the HFEA believes that the proposed use of embryos for research is necessary for the purposes of that research.”
It seems then that the HFEA has failed to meet the 1990 Act’s rigorous standards for granting licences, as licences for creating animal-human hybrid embryos are neither “necessary” nor “desirable.” There is no empirical evidence to show that any useful advances have been made in embryonic stem cell research. However, huge developments have been seen in the treatment of diseases as a result of research on adult stem cells and umbilical cord blood cells.
Of course we now know that under the recent legislation Parliament could grant such licences (for human-pig hybrid embryo research), but the reason I flag this is that it shows that academic institutions, supported by the government, are quietly getting on with creating human animal hybrids whether it is legal or not – So we must make ourselves aware and keep such flagrant disregard for the law and life before our congregations as well as our MP’s
Additionally Christian Concern For The Nation warn that, there are indications from sections of the media (neither confirmed nor denied by Parliament…) that the third reading of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill 2007/8 (which allows for the creation of animal-human hybrid embryos) will take place in Parliament some time next week. To pre-empt this political chicanery, I would encourage us to contact our MPs to remind them of our views on the subject of animal-human hybrid embryo research and to ask them to represent these views in any debate.