Gene editors such as CRISPR could be used to create stronger, faster, or more resilient nonhuman animals. This is of keen interest to people who breed, train, race, and profit off the millions of animals used in sport that contribute billions of dollars to legal and illegal economies across the globe. People have tried for millennia to perfect sport animals; CRISPR proposes to do in one generation what might have taken decades previously. Moreover, gene editing may facilitate enhancing animals’ capacities beyond their typical limits. This paper describes the state of animal use and engineering for sport, examines the moral status of animals, and analyzes current and future ethical issues at the intersection of animal use, gene editing, and sports. We argue that animal sport enthusiasts and animal welfarists alike should be concerned about the inevitable use of CRISPR in sport animals. Though in principle CRISPR could be used to improve sport animals’ well-being, we think it is unlikely in practice to do so.
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