Press Release 08/2012

Ethics Council organises public meeting on circumcision in August

The Ethics Council has also set up a working group on biosecurity and freedom of research and decided the topic of its 2013 Annual Meeting.

On 23 August 2012, in a public plenary meeting, the Ethics Council will consider the circumcision of minor boys for religious reasons, a topic currently in the public eye. The Council members Peter Dabrock, Wolfram Höfling, Ilhan Ilkilic, Leo Latasch and Reinhard Merkel will give introductory presentations on the implications of circumcision in criminal law, religion and culture, medicine and ethics, which will then be the subject of plenary discussion.

In addition, on the instructions of the Federal Government, the Ethics Council will prepare an Opinion on the topic of “Biosecurity and freedom of research – research funding and the treatment of research findings”. The background of this request is research in the USA and the Netherlands which creates influenza viruses which can be transferred more readily between mammals than their wild forms. In the course of its plenary meeting yesterday the Ethics Council passed a resolution to set up a working group on this topic, and laid down the next steps to be taken.

The central focus of the 2013 Annual Meeting will be research on humans, above all with regard to the protection of test persons and patients in the global context.

Further information at