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This article contends that the environmental release of genetically engineered (GE) animals with heritable traits that are patented will present a challenge to the efforts of nations and indigenous peoples to engage in self-determination. The environmental release of such animals has been proposed on the grounds that they could function as public health tools or as solutions to the problem of agricultural insect pests. This article brings into focus two political-economic-legal problems that would arise with the environmental release of such organisms. To address those challenges, it is proposed that nations considering the environmental release of GE animals must take into account the underlying circumstances and policy failures that motivate arguments for the use of the modified animals. Moreover, countries must recognize that the UN International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the UN International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights place on them an obligation to ensure that GE animals with patented heritable traits are not released without the substantive consent of the nations or indigenous peoples that could be affected.