So, the Brits finally approved the human-animal genetic experiments.
These experiments are very interesting, but not terribly dangerous or crazy. I think the people who don't understand it are having visions of something between Manga-style catgirls and stitched-together "Island of Doctor Moreau" horrors. The truth is, even if you tried to bring these experiments to term, they wouldn't make it: this genetic mixing is too primitive, too damaging. Even if we had the capacity to combine them in a way which could be brought to term, we would focus on basic human improvements first, no animal traits involved.
I think that a lot of people are stuck on this idea of a fifties-style mad scientist in a lab coat, cackling to himself and building monsters. I have a sneaking suspicion these people might even imagine it in black and white.
The truth is that individuals cannot accomplish projects of any reasonable scale, at least not yet. These kinds of projects (new foods, theoretical genetics research, etc) require large teams with hugely expensive equipment. We're not talking about a man with a lab coat, cackling. We're talking about a room full of people with lab coats, cackling. It's time to stop thinking Doctor Moreau and time to start thinking Doctor No: in order to release some new genetic monster on the world, it would require almost unlimited funding and hundreds of scientists, every single one of whom must be willing and able to keep it secret.
IE, living on a volcanic island surrounded by sharks with laser beams on their heads.
The only entities able to fund that kind of development are major corporations, major militaries, and any of the people who founded Microsoft. Of those, major corporations are the only ones that can be reasonably stopped with laws, and I'm not sure it makes sense to make the laws about specific kinds of genetic research. There are always other kinds of research, and corporations have a surprising knack for doing horrible things within the letter of the law. It might be better to focus on laws about corporate BEHAVIOR, not RESEARCH.
The people who are more or less above the law - militaries, who can simply ignore it, and the very rich, who can simply do it in a more permissive nation. In those cases, there is no immediate worry: the potential for giant scorpions or horrible mutant humans is simply not there. Effectively, in order to do that kind of thing, it would require something on par with Los Alamos... and I guarantee you that it could not be kept truly secret. Even Los Alamos wasn't particularly secret among physicists, and in this era, everything's a hundred times better connected.
There is a danger from smaller projects, such as weaponized diseases. These are technically within the scope of today's science. In fact, there are plenty of researchers engaged, right now, in breeding ever nastier tiny biological things. They don't do this to provide us with weapons of mass destruction, they do this to provide us with better protection against the continued march of tiny biological things to get ever-nastier on their own.
See, in this day and age, no government would be willing to release a weaponized biological agent. Although the atom bomb is stuck in our minds as a horror, the truth is that everyone who knows better is far more scared of biological stuff. If you killed 400 Serbians with a customized disease, every first world country in the universe would come down on you as if you had just nuked a middling-sized city.
That leaves only private individuals as significant threats.
Maybe they are, maybe not. Excessively rich people often have strange wishes. But one thing is for sure: prohibiting something will just make them do it quieter, or farther away.
Personally, even if none of this were true, even if there was a impending risk, I would still support extensive genetic experimentation. That's because, out of all the scientific fields there are, out of all the scientific fields there have EVER BEEN, modern genetic research has the greatest potential to improve life.
And science improves life.
Even when it starts off on the wrong foot, going the wrong direction, it doesn't take long to turn around and improve life.
So huzzah for genetic research! And huzzah for any nation that approves it.