Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You: Animal Transplants.

Not a very catchy title  is it? Who on Earth would want to see something called Animal Transplants? Unless of course the theatre is an operating one and even though a surgery will be performed it’s not for public viewing. The stars of the show? Pigs of course!

Now I bring this up because I read an article on BBC News about it this morning, while it’s a bit of a confusing article I think I got the gist of it, and researchers quoted within the article said: ‘With regard to pig tissues and cells, as opposed to organs, it would seem that clinical xenotransplantation could soon become a reality.’

‘Clinical Xenotransplantation’ is just a fancy and over complicated way of saying that animals are used as the source of the transplant. Yet, no matter how they truss it up it still means that we’ve found one more way for animals to do our bidding.

It’s a method tha still needs perfecting, as far as I can make out, and until it can be used effectively doctor’s best bet of getting organs to save people is to get more people to sign up to the donors list.

But if/when it comes about how is going to work? They already seem to have ruled out whole organ transplants because the human body rejecting it is a massive problem. The immune system recognises the tissue from the pig as foreign and begins to attack it.

So instead a number of researchers think that the answer lies in transplanting a small number of pig cells into the human body. I don’t know how they collect the cells from the pig, whether they collect small samples at a time of if they’ll just kill it. Either way there’s still something quite uncomfortable about it.

It’ll save lives which is always a good thing, but why do we have to turn to animals for the answer? I’m not a massive believer of animal testing yet this comes with an argument so strong I’m not sure I can contest it. I’m not sure I want to, after all saving lives is important. But I stand by the belief that there has to be an alternative, there’s something morally and ethically wrong in making other living creatures suffer to benefit us.

I think organ donation is always going to be the best bet. It’s just a matter of getting people to sign up. Personally I’m not sure why people don’t, apart from if you’re religious then I guess it goes against your religion. I’d happily sign up for it, actually I think I might have gone through the process in some sort of paperwork…but then I managed to lose it somehow.

But could you imagine, someone asks you your background and you reply ‘well, I’m part English, part Spanish and part pig.’ That’s a sure-fire way to confuse people.


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