chapter  13
18 Pages

Eugenics, Commerce and Control in Human and Animal Reproduction

Pedigrees and eugenics – the application of selective breeding to people – are thoroughly out of fashion in contemporary thinking about human populations. The determinism of ‘blood’ in creating worth is discredited. Diversity, individuality, consent and choice are accepted as pre-eminent values in human society and in choices about families and relationships. Unscientific and hierarchical concepts such as ‘old families’, ‘old blood’ or ‘good blood’ that were the norm in discussions of human populations up to the mid 20th century are now almost entirely rejected (genetically, all human families are equally old). But this thinking is still the norm in relation to human control of animal breeding. Animal owners still take the same pride in controlling the breeding of their ‘stock’ as the heads of human households used to take in choosing suitable marriage partners for their offspring.