Bioethics s.l.


It was Fritz Jahr who came up with the word “bioethics” in 1927 when he published the article: “Bio-Ethik: Eine Umschau über die ethischen Beziehungen des Menschen zu Tier und Pflanze” (Bioethics: A look at the ethical relationships of humans to animals and plants”).

Jahr also introduced what he would later call “the Bioethical Imperative”:

“All living beings are entitled to respect and should be treated not as means but as ends in themselves.”

So “bioethics sensu lato” is about accommodating human and animal diversity and allowing everyone enough space to breathe and flourish, according to their own wishes and without harming anyone.

This obviously means that we have to look after all species’ habitats as well as our own (earth) and it also entails that bioethics includes medical and legal aspects.

– Thich Nhat Hanh

Bioethics sensu stricto is clinical or medical ethics. It’s called “zorgethiek” in Dutch. Care ethics.

It all often boils down to this:

To worship the Earth is not to deify her or believe she is any more sacred than ourselves. To worship the Earth is to love her, to take care of her, and to take refuge in her. When we suffer, the Earth embraces us, accepts us, and restores our energy, making us strong and stable again. The relief that we seek is right under our feet and all around us. Much of our suffering can be healed if we realize this. If we understand our deep connection and relationship with the Earth, we will have enough love, strength, and awakening so that we both can thrive.

Do I believe that it is morally wrong to eat non-human animals? No, crows and eagles and pigeons do it too. I believe that it is wrong to abuse non-human animals (as well as other humans). I believe that humans no longer have a need to eat non-human animals as we can create our own “meat”, in the labs and on the basis of plants.

Do I feel guilty the rest of the day if I end up buying two Walls steak slices the morning after the night when loudly but happily singing young people woke me up at 3am making me feel very groggy the following morning and knowing that I need to get this kind of food into me because it will help a lot? No, but I don’t like it and I would have grabbed Quorn or Cauldron slices or the like if I could.