Do animals have human qualities?

human and animal

Wolf-Michael Catenhusen

To person

Born in 1945; Former State Secretary; 1980 to 2002 member of the German Bundestag with a focus on research policy; 2006 to 2011 Chairman of the Federal Government's Nanocommission; since 2008 member of the German Ethics Council, spokesman for the working group "Research on human-animal hybrids".

New fields of science have led to the creation of human-animal hybrids. Is this compatible with our self-image, which traditionally assumes a clear demarcation between humans and animals?


Even in antiquity, the training of medicine in Greece was not only associated with the dissection of dead animals, but also with interventions on living animals, with animal experiments. In the development of modern medicine since the 16th century, animal experiments were resumed after a pause of more than 1000 years. In the 19th century, like physics and chemistry, medicine became an experimental science based on the results of animal experiments.

Since then, there has been a steady increase in scientific animal testing. Their results made important contributions to disease research and the development of vaccines and drugs. With the development of modern biomedical basic research, there was a constant expansion of scientific questions as a justification for scientific animal experiments. Today, research on animals takes place mainly on animals bred for research purposes. In 2009, 2.78 million vertebrates were used in Germany for experiments and other scientific purposes and 690,000 vertebrates were killed for scientific purposes. [1]