Pig organs being transplanted into humans was an idea that started in the 60’s. Many opposed it due to disease and virus crossover possibilities Some pigs carry Porcine Endogenous Retroviruses (PERVs). Retroviruses are a group of viruses that can cause cancers and immunodeficiency illnesses, including HIV, which affect humans. This means that pig cells are not safe for donation unless they are edited to take out the parts that we don’t want.
Researchers in China and the United States have carried out a study where they have been able to remove the genes we wouldn’t want. The death toll for this study is already 37 pigs, with no piglets surviving past four months old.
There is the possibility that they are going to start growing human organs inside animals. This would mean less chance of rejection by the human body, but it is still a massive loss for the animals, and brings about the same problems.
Doctors already use parts of animals such as heart valves and pancreatic cells in transplant surgery but Animal Justice Project believes we should be focusing on the preventative cures instead! This research has already been done. A healthy lifestyle means healthier lives, and less risk of disease. The diet best shown to prevent and even reverse heart disease is a plant-based one. The same can be said for preventing and curing diabetes.
“Pig cells are not safe for donation use unless they are edited”, researchers say. This therefore brings into question why do we ingest it? Have you ever heard the expression “you are what you eat”? Processed meats such as bacon, salami and sausage have been labelled as group 1 carcinogens. Pork, beef and lamb group 2.
There is already a great deal of animal suffering due to genes being changed, manipulated and edited. This has led to gross deformities, extremely poor quality of life, and high mortality rates within animal agriculture. Animals bred in poor conditions are prone to disease, which is why the vast majority of antibiotics sold are used for ‘livestock’ today. Factory farming means animals need drugs to stay alive. This gives way though to so-called ‘super bugs’ which pose a serious threat to human and non-human animal life.
It seems very unlikely that pigs grown to harvest organs would have more rights or better living standards than those farmed for meat. As I outlined in the article I previously wrote for Animal Justice Project, ‘Outbreak Imminent‘, scientists need only follow the animal agriculture guidelines in place for farm animal welfare. Standards are low, and horrendous.
Pigs (and other animals) can’t sign up to be donors. It is not something they can be willingly do. So, shouldn’t your heart tell you that it’s wrong to take their hearts without permission? Maybe… maybe not. Speciesism, the idea that humans have greater moral rights than non-human animals, is something that comes naturally to most people. Most species give preferential treatment to their own. Yet humans have taken it to the next level, we are the only species to breed other species for our personal gain!
So even if each pig had her own natural pregnancies, grass lands to roam, faeces-free food and water, while she lived her life waiting to have their organs cut out, this still poses the dilemma. If a human has the heart of a pig would you class the person as “bacon”? Or if a pig has the heart of a human, would you say that it is “murder” to kill that pig and cannibalism to eat his or her flesh? And if we are that interchangeable, should we really be exploiting them in the first place?