At a time when we are dealing with a viral pandemic that began with our exploitation of other animals and nature we continue to abuse other animals to solve the very problems we create. In this case it is the horseshoe crab whose blood is used in biomedical research and now being considered in the development of a Covid-19 vaccine despite the availability of a synthetic alternative. Hundreds of thousands are ‘harvested’ for this purpose. Horseshoe crabs have existed on earth for over 450 million years, predating dinosaurs and flowering plants – as well as surviving five mass extinctions. Yet it is unclear if they will survive our exploitation of them in a highly lucrative biomedical industry.
In our latest essay entitled The Blood Harvest of Horseshoe Crabs is a Moral Fiasco, I am joined by Dalhousie University philosopher Andrew Fenton as we explore the ethical justifications used to defend this use of horseshoe crabs. We conclude that the welfare and conservation of these animals is being compromised for the sake of convenience and that the blood harvest is a moral failure.
Read the essay here.