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Literary BioethicsAnimality, Disability, and the Human$
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Maren Tova Linett

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781479801268

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479801268.001.0001

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Cloned Lives

Cloned Lives

Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go

(p.117) 4 Cloned Lives
Literary Bioethics

Maren Tova Linett

NYU Press

Chapter 4 reads Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go (2005) as a thought experiment about the ethics of humane farming. In this novel cloned human beings are raised as sources of organs for noncloned human beings; they are killed in the donation process early in their adulthood. The government homes where most of the cloned human beings live in “deplorable conditions” suggest factory farms, while the boarding school at which our protagonists live evokes a humane, organic farm. These parallels raise issues of animal ethics. Is it enough to have, as influential food writer Michal Pollan believes, a good life and a respectful death even if that life is dramatically shortened? This chapter demonstrates the cognitive dissonance and logical incoherence inherent in the fictional scenario and illuminates the ethical contradictions of the humane meat movement.

Keywords:   Kazuo Ishiguro, Never Let Me Go, animal ethics, humane farming, animal welfare, engineered human beings, cloning, human exceptionalism, Michael Pollan

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