Animal Frankenscience

Animal Frankenscience

Apart from being cruel, experiments on living creatures are a pretty crude research tool. 

I regularly tune in to radio stations around the world via my laptop – mostly for jazz, and news when I’m feeling strong. On the morning of Monday, 8 February, I found myself listening to BBC Radio 4’s current affairs programme and quickly began to feel like I’d entered the dystopian fallout endured by Winston Smith in George Orwell’s 1984.

The horror began with an announcement by science and environment editor Tom Feilden, that the next insert would be exploring the field of “human/animal hybrids”. He sounded chipper, as if he were announcing the presence of a new gastropub in Wales. For a half an instant, the term “human/animal hybrids” captured my imagination. Have we entered the fantastical terrain of super heroes like Spiderman and Batman? Mix a bit of cat with a bit of boy and what do we get? Cat Boy! But oh no, it’s not half as symmetrical as that…

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