Human and Pig Cloning

Your New Chimerical Kidney, From A Pig

Group 53

On January 2018, Pablo Ross from the University of California reported that his team was able to create pig embryos with one human cell per every 100,000 pig cells (Cookson, 2018). This work has inspired more research on this area. (Davis, 2018). These advancements have the objective to grow  human organs in  animals, solving the global organ donor shortage.  However, with the rise of animal rights organisations, this also creates ethical concerns. Will we continue to use animal species in “xenotransplantation” technology for the salvation of our own?

New Organs, Longer Life

Human and Pig Cloning
Image source: Jason Hoffman/Thrillist

Let us talk about the need for organs and its numbers, just in the UK, 457 people died to wait for an organ transplant in 2016 (Johnston, 2017). In the US, on average, 13 people die to wait for a kidney transplant per day (National Kidney Foundation, 2016); also, in overall, every ten minutes one person is diagnosed with organ failure and is added to the national transplant waiting list (United Network for Organ Sharing, 2018). Although many improvements have been made to surgical care, tissue typing and immunosuppression management, organ shortage globally is one of the many challenges facing transplantation. This generates the proliferation of transplant tourism, which is people from industrialised countries travelling to emerging countries where people are offering their body parts for sale, this generates issues with potential organ trafficking and religious beliefs. All of this could be avoided with the development of this technology (Broumand and Saidi, 2017).

Developing the techniques needed to grow human organs in animals will eliminate the waiting list concern and reduce the organ trafficking globally. In where people, whenever diagnosed with an organ problem, could start a process in which their stem cells can be taken from the bone marrow and injected into a pig fetus during its gestation in the mother pig womb. (Westphal, 2003). Since the organ comes from your stem cells, this will reduce the compatibility uncertainty of the transplant thereby increasing the patient survival chances. This is not the only approach, since the efficiency of a transplant depends much on the blood type, a supermarket model to purchase organs can be developed. In this model the customer goes and selects the organ he needs according to its blood type, and with human lifespans can be increased, replacing organs each time they start failing, without the issue of these organs coming from dead people or the black market. Also, this will increase the survival chances of people involved in an accident just because the Emergency Response system can easily get spare organs available to substitute the damaged ones.

To date, growing organs in an artificial culturing environment is still complicated due to the high complexity of the organs. But since pigs share a lot of the anatomical and physiological characteristics of humans (Nagashima and Matsurani, 2016), xenotransplantation from pigs may be possible in the next few decades and will bring humanity a brighter future where people can enjoy a longer healthier life.

This research and its development will improve the quality of life of thousands of organ recipients and agrees with the utilitarian ethical theory according to Poel and Royakkers, (2011), that “The action that brings the greatest happiness for the greatest number should be chosen.

The Cruel Reality of Xenotransplantation

Woman With Genes In Her Hair GraphicScientists seek solutions for reducing the organ scarcity, and the developments in xenotransplantation hold a great promise (Animal-to-Human Transplants : the ethics of xenotransplantation, 1996). However, it is impossible to justify any suffer even the valuable benefits to humanity since harvesting human organs in animals is cruel and unethical. Even though xenotransplantation targets the improvement of human living conditions, the suffering imposed on animals should be considered. The selective animal breeding involves manipulating mammals without caring about their lives, or the way they are cruelly treated before they die (New England Anti-Vivisection Society, 2018)

To have a successful organ, hundreds of mammals have to undergo unkind surgeries, and experiments; if the analysis fails, the animals will be discarded as rubbish (Toby Köberle, Melbourne K. T., 2005). Moreover, to avoid any cross-contamination, the animals will have to live in an unnatural and stressful environment until it is time for them to die (James Meek, 2001). Animals will endure a life of isolation, stress and depression because they will be sentenced to live in a lonely cage for all their life, not be allowed to have any contact with other creatures (PETA, 2018).

Medical journals show that animal experimentation is not only a waste of lives but also of resources by trying to alter animals with unnecessary surgeries (Moneim A. Fadali, M.D, 2016) Furthermore, the medical risks for humans of these experiments are enormous. The main threat in the xenotransplantation is the possibility that the patient dies as organs do not always live up to the full life expectancy (Shima Behnam Manesh, Reza Omani Samani, Shayan Behnam Manesh, 2004).

The National Institutes of Health has noted that 95% of experiments that are shown safe and effective in animal tests fail in human trials (PETA, 2018).

Animals will die to give humans a sacrificed life because of the uncountable types of drugs needed to maintain the organ in proper conditions, living a tortuous lifestyle before they eventually die. Replacing xenotransplantation with techniques that generate more positive benefits to human beings than animal testing does as experimenting on cell cultures, simulating the organ harvesting or using human volunteers (PETA, 2018).

Scientists claim to have the right to inflict pain on animals because they supposedly lack cognitive abilities as humans. If this were true, would be acceptable experimenting on vegetative state or mental disabilities people that could benefit thousands of children? The answer is no because life is something that cannot be priced (BBC, 2014 ). So, is it ethical to save humans at the expense of the life of transgenic animals? Moreover, plenty of countries and religions do not accept this type of medical procedure making it more difficult for patients because they can suffer from discrimination, rejection (Bioethics-today, 2017) and also lack of medical treatment in certain countries that believe this is an unethical practice.

The primary concern is whether people are excessively desperate to cling to life that they would accept organs transplanted from hybrids, without realising the suffering and pain of innocent beings.


Though Xenotransplantation may reduce the recent organ scarcity as well as improve the longevity of millions of patients with organ failure and is justifiable from ethical utilitarianism in one hand, yet, the moral necessities of deontology demands an ethical debate for a rational reconsideration of the animal rights and welfare. This abuse on transgenic animal’s natural dignity, respect and right to live raises many unfair concerns calling for alternate solutions. For instance, public enlightenment on endemic exposure to toxins and infections, drug use and abuse will reduce organ failures. Furthermore, recruiting more organ donors and engaging in cellular, tissue and organ engineering will offer regeneration of failing organs instead of the violation of fundamental animal rights which is absolutely unethical.

97 thoughts on “Your New Chimerical Kidney, From A Pig

  1. It is a controversial topic. Obviously any other good idea that no creatures will lose their life because of human beings should be come up with as quick as we can

  2. It’s unethical to make use of other animal for ‘un-natural’ purposes. You see, it is true that we consume them for food and continual survival purposes but specifically use them to grow organ or kidney is just too much. It’s like we treat them as if they have no feelings or purpose. I’d say no for this!

  3. In spite of the ethical dilema behind “using” animals for a better and deeper knowledge and science develpment, I’d definetely rather to save a human life over an animal one.

    I am positive that scientist and organizations evaluating this field, will also sugest an educated way to “use” these animals and create appropriate ways to take care of pigs or any other potential animals of interest.

    Those who are against, imagine for a second that your children or mother’s life could be saved due to something like this but will not happen due to lack of a dilema resolution.

    1. Thank you for your comment. We appreciate your interest in our topic. Your judgement is balanced because it takes human lives first. Moreover, it also considers animal welfare.

  4. Honestly if only 5% of experiments that are shown safe and effective in animal tests work in human trials, why would we kill innocent animals just because “what if”? And not only kill them, but make them pass through all the previous stresful process.

    Of course the organs scarcity has to be faced and solved as soon as possible, but I don’t think that it should be done through the suffering of other beings just because we think we have the right to; I think that more – ethical – scientific and medical solutions will come soon, especially nowadays when technology is been developed in such a fast way.
    Meanwhile, we all can help by becoming organ donors, after all, we won’t need them after we die, and they can save lives.

    1. Thank you for commenting our topic. Your concern on animal welfare and suggestion for alternative approach to raise organs is very rational and stakeholders will certainly find it helpful. Furthermore, your idea of becoming human donors also finds a solution and encourages people to donate their organs to reduce scarcity problem.

  5. Interesting perspective, but I think there are some limits the human race should respect.
    I mean, we may start by producing human organs inside a pig, but then someone might use those discoverings to produce feline eyeballs that are human compatible, and at that point, we may stop thinking of normal humans and start thinking of human hybrids.
    That would be just the thing it is trying to stop: human race extinction.

    1. Thank you for commenting our topic. Your idea to respect limits between species is considerable since humans cannot become owners of other living beings.

  6. I think it is a very human centric approach, and is sad we think we are above every other species.
    Pigs do not deserve to live only to supply us, I mean, there is enough cruelty in using them for food, and now we are going to private them from a normal life just to get an organ for a human who God decided has to die?
    I hope 3D printing developments achieve these results faster so we do not start to believe we are gods and dispose living beings as we need them.

    1. We appreciate your interest in our topic. The use of 3D printers will help to cover the organ scarcity in the world. Your concern about animals is noticeable and animals’ rights should be considered any time.

  7. I think that the improvement on medicine is important to the survival of the human life in the world. But we are not the owners of the life of the animals and we should not decide on behalf of them. The energetic and environmental crisis of the world is directly related, among other factors, to the ambitious position of the human’s beings, who makes decisions above the law of nature without respecting their equilibrium.

    1. Thank you for your comment. We appreciate your interest in our topic. Your point about human ambition is valuable. We should all consider the consequences of it not only in human beings but also in animals and the environment

  8. The article shows one of the several cases of ethical responsibility that humans have, reading the two approaches separately you could indicate that both are valid; In my opinion, I believe that scientific developments should be focused on the better welfare for humanity.

    Is it ethical to sacrifice one living being for another? Remember that ethics to date is only a value of the human being, life is a process in which we are the most developed species on earth, and for that, we must impose our life about others? , Imagine if later more developed beings than us (For example: Aliens) will use us for their survival, for the simple fact of being more intelligent; how would we feel?

    Life is all, so we must try to develop other methods (EJ: New materials, cellular engineering with 3D printing, preventive medicine, and so one.) that will generate the necessary organs without sacrificing others.

    1. Thank you very much for your interest in our topic. We think that your proposals for fighting the organ scarcity in the world are accurate since they avoid animal cruelty and make us consider other beings lives.

  9. Looking at the progress of science nowadays I would believe that we should continue to investigate until creating a new way to aboard this problem without having to sacrifice animals for our own survival, however I think this could be a temporary solution, which could help to save lives of many people who need an organ transplant, this situation generates stress and with it many problems to the family environment that lives it, likewise nowadays many animal species are sacrificed just for the purpose of getting feed, clothes and in some countries even just for fun, then why not do it in a controlled way and being able to save a human life.

    1. Thank you very much for your interest in our topic. We also agree that it would be better to keep investigating new ways to fight organ scarcity. Moreover, you also make a really point saying that animals are killed for fashion and it would be more valuable to use their lives to save more.

  10. Animals have been treated badly by humans since the very beginning and nowadays, pigs serve as production animals, they are not mascots. They live their whole life on farms increasing their body weights until the time comes.
    So if we kill for pleasure, whoy do not do it to save a human’s life? Il will be unethical to say that you are against this idea, but eat meat each day.

    1. Thank you very much for your interest in our topic. We think that your comments have made and interesting point by highlighting the fact that animals are already grown to supply human needs and now, this type of laboratory use will help to save lives.

  11. This subject is really controversial, and the article exposes both perspectives really well. As for my opinion, I think it is important that we develop new ways to sabe human lives, and as long as producing organs within animals stays only for the short term, this would be an excellent solution to help families struggling to sabe one of their members.
    It is important to keep in mind that they should be treated exactly the same the animals for meat production are treated, following the different laws and guidelines defined by veterinarians and zootechnologists.
    Thinking about the environment is important as well, and therefore the rest of those pigs should be edible in order to not waste a whole animal after harvesting the organ it was destined to produce.

    1. Thank you very much for you comment. We appreciate your interest in our topic. A solution to back this practice is to prove that these pigs can be used to feed humans after the harvesting. In this way, their bodies won’t be just waste, and xenotransplantation would be more viable and would not be seen as a completely unethical fact.

  12. This was a very interesting read. In my opinion as long as all ethical guidelines are followed and every effort possible is made to reduce animal suffering, xenotransplantation should continue to be researched and improved. It is an exciting prospect that has the potential to save many lives. Unfortunately I understand that this will be at the expense of many more animals. However it should be considered that these animals would never exist if it was not for this research. They are bred into research and unfortunately will die in research, however a lot of good can come out of their death for humanity.

    If I was ever in emergency need of an organ and was offered a xenotransplant I would definitely accept, as long as it was a scientifically proven treatment option. Therefore if I am willing to accept it myself I cannot condone others or the research in this area.

    1. Thank you very much for your comment. We appreciate your interest in our topic. You made us see an interesting point about xenotransplantation and its benefits for humanity. Even though animals may suffer, a lot of interesting and innovative ways for saving human lives can be developed.

    2. Thank you very much for you comment. We appreciate your interest in our topic. You made us see an interest point about xenotransplantation and its benefits for humanity. Even though animals may suffer, a lot of interesting and innovative ways for saving human lives can be developed.

  13. very interesting read in fact. I would rather agree no disagree for the use of animals organs for the purpose of saving human lives. There are Pros and Cons which have me absolutely conflicted. However, for the short-term I would agree for the reason that there are lives could be saved with the aid of solution. On the other hand, I would disagree to continue using animals organs for the long-term run. Therefore, big part of the investment should be directed on other alternative ways and solutions.

    1. Thank you very much for you comment. We appreciate your interest in our topic. We also believe than, even though xenotransplantation could be a short-term solution, more studies and analysis should be made to cover the problem with organs scarcity. By this, animals will not have to suffer to save humans ‘lives.

  14. Even though this brings a solution to the lack of organ donors in the world, I do feel that it is achieved by the wrong path. It is not reasonable that we want to extend our lives at the expense of others.

    1. Thank you very much for your comment. We appreciate your interest in our topic. We also believe that there are more ways to fight organ scarcity in the world, xenotransplantation may be used just for now until more investigations come up, so people can be saved without damaging other living beings.

  15. I agree with the idea that the world needs to find a solution for the organ transplant since many people die waiting in a long list or waiting for the perfect match. But the scientific world needs to keep looking for better ethical ways of achieving this goal, it just wouldn’t be right to reach this objective by mistreating and abusing animals.

    1. Thank you very much for your comment. We also agree with the idea of developing new solutions for an organ transplant to save more human lives. Moreover, we also think that there are better and ethical ways to solve this problem, without killing other human beings.

  16. An interesting article that definitely has me conflicted.
    I personally do not think it is ethical to grow animals in the sole purpose of harvesting their organs for our own benefit. Then again, the food industry grow animals to ‘harvest’ their meat so maybe this is hypocritical of me.
    But as a society we definitely need to move towards improving the welfare of all animals as seen in the One Health public health approach and xenotransplantation doesn’t seem to move towards improving the welfare of all animals.
    Also I think this new development alone will not stop the global organ trafficking market as this black market seems to be based not only on the lack of organs, but also poverty and viewing the sale of organs as an income.
    But I am not in urgent need of a transplant so I could not possibly understand what it is like when people are in such a situation.

    1. We also feel conflicted about this topic since lives could be safe using pigs. We also believe that, since pigs and in general mammals are used to cover some humans needs, they can be used to save lives, giving a valuable use of them. Nevertheless, we think that animals do not have to suffer in humans’ hands, so there should be more investigation and analysis in this topic to create a new solution that may be more ethical and more powerful to stop the global trafficking market. Thank you very much for you comment. We appreciate your interest in our topic.

  17. I don’t agree with this practices because I think if we made specimens diferents, in te future the human will be an other specimen, not a human body like now, we need to acept that aour specimen is unique and we should be to maintain how are we today.

    Maybe we should to do more developing how can we to increase the capacity of the heart to maintain his power for more year in a good condition?… maybe if we focused in developing early diagnosis to identify if a heart not work well, and we have medicine, treatment or another capacity to rehability the function, we maybe live for more years without live with a pig heart inside of our bodys…

    1. Thank you very much for you commenting out topic. We also think that human beings are unique, and it is why we should not mix our cells with animal cells, not only because mammals will suffer but also because this experiment can develop in more unethical ones. The fact that more research are being made helps us believing that the scarcity of organs will be solved soon.

  18. The Biotechnology usually have problems with ethic, because the humanity wants to live in a world in which we can have a better and healthier life, but actually this have too many problems because sometimes humanity does’nt skimp with our resources. I think harvest human organs on pigs does’nt have bad intentions but we have to learn how to preserve and respect all the life forms with which we actually lives. Because nowadays some species are nearby from extintion and we have done absolutely nothing to change this situation, and the humanity continues with the lost of this species.

    1. Thank you so much for your comment on our article. Your opinion was in line with the majority of other comments clamouring for animal respect and protection.

  19. It is an ambivalent subject from any perspective.
    Beyond the uncertainty about the functioning of the organs in the case of the beneficiaries, it is clear the immorality of the fact.
    It is fair to innocent animals to a life not worthy, and then sacrificing his life for a human life? I think not.
    The life of living beings deserving respect and protection, regardless of whether they are animals, humans or plants.
    I think that scientists will find a way to reduce the trafficking of organs and resolve the issue of mortality due to shortage of organs, without having to resort to immoral acts.

    1. Thank you so much for your comment on our article. Your opinion was in line with the majority of other comments clamoring for animal respect and protection.

  20. A very interesting read indeed. I believe that human life takes precedence and if this method has the potential to improve life then further research must be done. However, at the same time we must also continue to research other options which might be less harmful to animals. I hope it can be only a short term solution until a more ethical approach can be developed.

    1. Great !, Thank you for your comment. Your recommendation for further research to improve the process while evaluating alternative approaches is highly resourceful.

  21. Majority of ethical arguments and PETA criticism rely heavily on the assumption that the scientific community is unconcerned with the ethical aspect of medical research. In reality, more researchers than ever are focused on delivering new generation methods that would bypass animal use.
    Milestones are reached with unprecedented rate ( e.g. first living tissue was 3D-printed in Oxford in 2017, and first 3D-printed organs tested in clinical conditions and in early 2018). But in order to accurately mimic organ functionality, all such technology must be informed by vast amounts of data. Unfortunately, there aren’t many alternatives to animal and human trials when it comes to data generation. And, while more advanced methods are still in the works, exploiting the similarity between human and animal physiology seems like a natural ad hoc solution.
    Although the treatment of animals in xenotransplantation is undeniably cruel, I would view it as a necessary evil, a hopefully short-lived stepping stone on the way to more ethical approach to resolving the organ shortage problem.

    1. Thank you so much for your highly technical comment on our article. You called it ad hoc solution and at the same time a necessary evil. Undoubtedly, you are right because researches are going on to find lasting solutions to the organ scarcity.

  22. The ethical issue at hand feels more inaccurate if you compare it to the demand for pork. The treatment of the animals is the same, sadly the usage of the pigs meat is not the question, but the life it lives until the moment the kidney is needed.
    I believe that the appropriate approach to the issue should be to guarantee the care of an animal life until it can be used to treat a human being, not to supply a crescent demand for profit but to make it accessible to all human beings so that it doesn’t have to come to the same as the demand for pork. That way we don’t profit out of the pig’s life as an object, but a life that is put on the line to save a human being, with respect and dignity.

    1. Thank you so much for this insight. Your recommendation to treat the transgenic animals with respect and dignity is highly appreciated.

  23. Well since both implications show major concerns and valid arguments, I’m compelled to say that xenotransplantation is not the most ethical solution to the scarcity of human organs.
    It is indeed an answer for this problem for a short or medium time, nevertheless the suffering that this method will inflict to the carrier animals (pigs in this case) is not justified by any means. So we are forced to seek another method to resolve this issue.
    In this very post, the growing of biological tissues or organs in artificial environments is mentioned. In my opinion this is a large term solution that we should encourage, since this is certainly more ethical and avoids all harm to any living being, resolving altogether the problem posed here.

    1. Thank you so much as your ideas are highly appreciated. As regards to the issue of synthetic biotechnology, the accuracy is not as high as when raised in a living environment like in a transgenic host knowing the risks it will pose to the recipient

  24. I agree to do it. As a human, it’s normal to put our development in our first priority.

  25. Although it’s a very interesting and controversial subject to approach, in my opinion I wouldn’t use a Xenotransplantation.
    I couldn’t let pass the fact that an innocent animal had suffered his entire life so I could go on with mine, his it’s worth as much as mine.
    However I maybe consider using Xenotransplantation to safe a life of a significant other (my parents, my brothers or my son), if the decision would be in my hands.
    Anyway it’s known that many other studies for organ transplant are being done so overall I’m not in favor of Xenotransplantation.

    1. Thank you so much for commenting on our article. Your opinion is a fairly balanced as you pointed out that you cannot accept it personally but can endorse it for a lifesaving situation for a family member or friend.

  26. I think this could be a breakthrough for medicine and for people who are waiting for an organ transplant. And if they manage to prove that the organs of the pigs are safe and effective for the human use, it would be a huge improvement since by having at hand an organ for transplant could save even more lives. From the
    point of animal care, those animals would have been created for this exact purpose and would be sacrificed with all the ethical parameters.

    1. Thank you for your comment. You make a really interesting and valid point, it is important that is this technology is moving forward we consider the ethical regulations for using animals in laboratories.

  27. I like the way this article was written. It shows all the sides of the topic, and the purpose of the study, but I think that using animals for making us live longer is very cruel. Maybe if we deep more and explore other posibilities, the life of hundreds of animals can be save and we can live with ourselfs.

    1. Yes there are other possibilities, but his one and the others are still not well developed to meet the requirements for human transplantation. So develop shoul continue in all possible ways. Thank you for your comment!

  28. It was the intriguing topic and this idea probably helps patients who need to wait for transplantation.
    But I’m considering what would happen with the rest of the animal. and I also asked myself whether a human life should take precedence or not rather than anything else.
    I cannot answer this question now, but it is beneficial for us there is the alternative new way to access organ.

    1. Thank you for your comment. It is true that this is a relevant and really controversial topic. And as you also mention, if this technology does move forward it is important that find a viable use for the rest of the animal.

  29. People should consider using animals for more purpouses than only food, it may be unethical for some people, but it may save our families, friends or even our own life.

    It could help millions of people who are about to die just using organs produced on an animal we decided was destined to live for the human life.

    After that it should be a must to assure the rest of the animal is edible, so we do not start to produce 30Kg of waste to produce one kidney.

    1. Yes that would be really helpful for our future as humans, and you mention an important issue: the possibility of consumption of pigs. Which may not be possible since the pigs are genetically modified and studies should be done to determine if they are edible or not.

  30. I think there would be a downside, and it is that whe we would start using animal grown organs, the need to develop a new way to produce them will be reduced, and therefore animal grown organs will be the solution for a long time.

    I would like to think we are capable of achieving a new method without making other living beings suffer.

    1. Thank you for your comment, there are alternatives such as 3D printing of organs but they are also still in development.

  31. This reading was very interesting and so was reading everyone’s postures.

    I love that the article shows all the pros and cons, how can we benefit but also the unethical the development of the procedure can be considered. Everything is backed up with different sources and it makes me question a lot of things.

    In my personal opinion, I find xenotransplantation totally unethical, I would never accept an organ from a living being that has no voice in the saying, it is like it was said above, harvesting the organs of someone in vegetative state without consulting them. The suffering of the animals should be considered and I think it is kind of narcissistic for people to believe that humans are above every other species, yes they don’t have cognitive abilities like us as it was mentioned but when did it became right to see other livings life’s as disposable for our benefit in the magnitude that is needed for this to work?

    It is indeed sad the number of people who die because of organ donor shortage but I also agree that increasing the culture of organ donation can help, obviously it will not solve it but it can make a huge difference as other alternatives are being developed.
    Yes, I am all for animal rights, but I’m not blinded by it. I do see the benefits of xenotransplantation, how many lives could be saved but I maintain my posture because how it is shown still the inefficiency of the process and that it could be more problematic for the people who go through it than the benefits it could bring and let’s focus on the fact that it is mentioned that 95% of the tests fail for humans! Also, I would not like to put in my body an organ that was inside a living creature treated in such awful conditions, how healthy can it be?

    There must be other ways to be explored like 3D printing technology, something that doesn’t use lives like a napkin cleaning ourselves and throwing it away like it is nothing without the certainty that it will work. Let’s find something less harmful.

    1. You pointed out a relevant situation for this debate. Animals do not have the ability to defend themselves, and this is where organizations or individuals like PETA enter to defend them.
      And as you also mention, alternative technologies would be perfect for resolving this dilemma, but unfortunately, they are not available at the moment.
      Thanks a lot your comment

  32. The article is well written and cited. It adresses important matters and questions, how much are we willing to sacrifice to save a human life? Is a human life worth more than any other life? What are the limits to our actions and the consequences in the future? I liked it because it uses scientific facts to address an ethical problem, everything is defined clearly and the author leaves a lot of questioning in the reader.

    1. Thank you for your comment. We are happy that you were interested and satisfied with our discussion.

  33. I think this and interesting topic, however, the idea to modify animals to our benefit is not ethical to my personal opinion. There are a lot of methods that could be more developed without hurting any animal and harversting their organs. A synthetic organ could have more advantages and could be an easier method for the same purpose. Synthetic tissue, or complete synthetic organs could be focused on what the human could need at the moment, taking into consideration that the process of acceptance of a synthetic organ could be easier for a person than one obtained from a pig.

    1. Still, the elaboration of complete synthetic organs has not been fully exploited and developed, thus opening the option of this technology. We appreciate a lot your comment.

  34. I don’t like the fact of use pigs as a organ donor, but I’m not in the desperate situation to need an organ. This could work in the short way but I think the investigators need to find other ways to create organs in laboratory or even repair the ones that are failling. Other option could be increase the culture of organs donation to help the people with these problems, I know that most of the people avoid to donate their organs because of their religion or culture but there’s hope to change their minds in order to help other human beens, that is other topic that we didn’t see in the article.

    If exist the posibility of saving lives using the lives of pigs I’m agree with that as long as the pig life be dignified, taking a good care of them, but for this it’s necesary to pass all the drug test and clinical estudies sacrificing pigs’ lives, so in the short way I hope the ones to want to do that be the most kindly possible with the animals life.

    If it’s the only fast option to save human lifes I think we can go with that, while working on other options less harmfull for other species.

    1. You pointed out one really big difference between the general public and the personal situation of needing an organ for you or a close relative. This could really change the perspective of a person, and it is a relevant thing to consider when analyzing the situation. Thanks a lot for your comment.

  35. This is a very controversial yet intriguing topic. I believe that as much as xenotransplantation has the potential to save many human lives, it shouldn’t be at the cost of another’s suffering, even if it is a pigs. Yes, we are more evolved than most mammals but it doesn’t give us the right to freely experiment on fellow mammals like their lives don’t matter. If the process of xenotransplanation could ensure a decent quality of life for the pig, then I could be persuaded due to the huge impact that it could have on the organ donor list.

    1. That is a good consideration, the quality of life of the pig should somehow be regulated if this technology takes place. Since a pig exposed to this process will be genetically modified i till probably not be fit for human consumption and therefore some special care should take place. Thanks a lot for your comment.

  36. This was a very intriguing read. I firmly believe in the fair treatment of animals, however, I’m not entirely against the “humane” exploitation of certain animals in order to benefit from their meat, skin/fur, and potentially their organs. I’d like to point out that the human species are classified as omnivores, we as a race have been using animals for means ranging from transportation to entertainment since the stone age. pigs are a staple diet in many cultures, and they are in no way, shape, or form in danger of extinction. That’s why it is highly unlikely that they will no longer be slaughtered for food anytime soon. They might as well use their organs for xenotransplantation purposes as long as they are treated kindly and with respect.

    1. As you and other person comments, it is true that we are already using animals for our benefit (Clothes, food, transportation, or just for entertainment). So this does makes a favorable argument for supporting this technology. Thank you for your comment.

  37. Personally, I agree that there is an absurd amount of discrimination about considering animals. Some animals are endangered species are considered as very important, probably more important than some humans, and the others are less unique and considered as a source of food, fur etc. In the case when we consider a human’s life when there is no organ available to save this life we should not sacrifice a human’s life because of some prejudices about the possibility of animal suffering.
    On the other hand, I fully agree with the conclusion that people sometimes deliberately create circumstances when their organs stop working.
    I like the density of thoughts in this article, but probably some the solution is the combination of two sides. Great article, which allows to peer to the future of the important life problem.

    1. Great comment, rather than considering that the solution is one side it can be a partial solution, like using the technology on special circumstances (special diseases). Thank you for your comment.

  38. It is a very interesting subject, this made me ask myself some questions about.

    After you harvest the organs:
    What would happen with the rest of the animal?
    Would it go to the garbage?
    Would it be possible to eat it?
    If it’s ok to eat it, would it be considered as cannibalism?

    Besides that, what is the life expectancy for those organs?

    I would prefer to tell a little girl “your pet died” rather than “your dad die because of the lack of organs for his transplant”

    Society nowadays has become dumb with al their “that cucumber has feelings too” and things like that, I strongly think that human lives are above other species, because, a human can find the cure for the problems, I’m not saying that animals doesn’t matter, but as I stated before, human lives are above everything.

    I think that as long as you use the whole animal it would be ok.

    I don’t think I can eat something like that after knowing what happened with them, but I think it’s an important matter to talk about.

    1. You have a great point of view, if this procedure moves forward the uses of the rest of the animal will become this decision more viable. And also, as you mention when the life of one of your love ones is at stake the point of view can definitely variate. Thank you for your comments and sharing your interesting point of view.

  39. It could be argued the use of xenotransplantation could progress society closer towards utilitarianism. Medical research on animals has previously resulted in the cures and treatments of not only human ailments but those of animals as well. Thus the lives lost as a result of this research is outweighed by those saved.

    As mentioned previously in other comments, different species will often kill one another to promote the survival of their own species. I doubt this is done with much malice or ill intent but instead simply the desire to survive. However I still believe that more could be done to mitigate the suffering of the animals use in xenotransplantation.

    Overall I still believe that human life takes precedence over animals and this method has far too much potential to improve peoples lives to not take advantage of. Ultimately it will result in the greater well being of humanity and potentially through further research and discovery improved overall animal well being too.

    1. As you mention, if this method moves forward it would require them to fulfill the regulations, reducing the suffering of animals during this procedure. Thanks a lot for your comment, we appreciate your opinion.

  40. The mental image of an organ supermarket is an interesting one!

    The use of utilitarianism seems good justification for the supporting side of the argument, and I’d hasten to add that other frameworks could be included.

    One factor that argued against the use of animals in this role is the selective breeding which would be needed. This is already commonplace in more mainstream farming methods, so would this really pose a fresh issue for the case at hand?

    Overall, my view is that human life should come first and foremost, so the area should continue to be developed, although ideally as a stopgap to further technology such as lab grown organs.

    1. Selective breeding is an important issue, because regulations will not enable the animals to be used for other purposes (meat), and their offspring may still be subject to these. You make an important point! Thank you!

  41. From a technical point of view, one of the attractions of tissue engineering is that organs can be grown in the lab, removing the need for an animal host.

    From my own point of view, this is a tricky one. On the one hand, I eat meat but on the other I make sure my meat is from “Compassion in World Farming” approved sources. So on the one hand, I don’t (or better I can’t) have an issue with using an animal to meet my needs but equally I don’t want them to suffer before the end.
    (Ideally, in the future, my bacon will be grown in the lab.)

    On a very cold level, everything in Nature seeks to exploit everything else. I doubt whales feel guilty about hoovering up krill. As Andrea says once you are personally affected you see things differently.

    Ideally, we develop technology that helps us meet our aims but minimises any detrimental affects. Ideally, in this case, organs are grown without an animal host. As we are not yet at that stage then we should ensure that the host animal is kept in excellent conditions. Why would you put into your body a part that has been treated differently?

    In terms of ethics, can you develop the ethical support for and against this technology. Utilitarianism provides support for, but does virtue ethics?

    1. You have a very interesting point of view, as you mentioned it is a bit incoherent to eat meat on the daily basis and then voting against this technique. And as there are rules for the treatment of animal production there are quite similar for the treatment of laboratory animals.

      And as Javier also mention, Does the concern for animals means that the human’s beings are evolving? Probably yes, as you also stated a wild animal will not have a second thought for killing his prey. Which rescue the main reason for being the Homo sapiens.

      Utilitarianism supports the idea of using an animal to create organs since it will maximize the benefit, but from virtue ethics as Aristoteles propose this will not be a virtuous behavior and therefore it is not the right choice. This is why this decision remains controversial.

      Thank you for taking the time for commenting, we really appreciate your opinion.

  42. I don’t believe that investing millions of dollars into animal experimentation is wise. I believe that money would be better spent researching ways of achieving this in human subjects, since regardless of the fact that pigs and humans may be similar, we are different. We are humans, not animals.

    Yes, it is a good point that harvesting human organs from animals is a good option when considering satisfying a demand for organs, however, the accumulated amount of financial investment required, along with the wasted lives of animals before harvesting even one successful human organ would be astronomical.

    A topic like this would actually transform the agricultural sector, since it would mean that animals would be reared, just to be used for harvesting organs, and considering that animals are also a food source, one can easily see that there would be a very low demand for animal meat if the bodies are sold on the market to recover costs.

    Another point to mention is that this type of technology will have an unfortunate effect of fooling people into thinking that they can achieve immortality if they can keep switching organs as soon as there are signs of organ underperformance. THis could then mean that companies investing in this technology would then market their organ products to the point where they could get people to believe that it is easy and painless to swap out your organs for brand new ones, and one would then question how ethical this eventual marketing will be.

    Interesting article overall!!

    1. Financial consideration have an important impact on the decision of whether or not this may be viable in the future, this will affect our decision process. Thank you!

  43. I don’t think it’s right that animals should die for us in such painful ways. I’ve heard of research where organs are grown from cultured cells and I believe that to be where the real interest should lie. The fact that 95% of animal tested experiments fail for humans just shows how inefficient the process is and there has to be better solutions.

    1. Definitely, unfortunately, those researchers have not reached a point to solve the shortage of organs. Until this is not done growing organs in animals still remains an option, so both should continue being researched. Yours is an important point thank you so much.

  44. Interesting analysis! In my humble opinion, despite the evident need for mistreating animals throughout the human organ harvesting procedure, xenotransplatation is way too promising an option for revolutionizing public health worldwide not to try to surmount the current ethical difficulties. I think more research should be directed to increase animal welfare during their raising both by helping them ease their pain and providing more hospitable environments. Governments and regulatory agencies should fund the development of enhanced, standardized procedures for human organ harvesting that prioritize the animals’ rights and dignity from birth to sacrifice. Research should not be banned, but be carefully regulated. Perhaps in a mid-term future the progress in this field could lead towards new technology that would not need entire animal organisms for human organ production.

    1. There are regulations already placed that help to regulate the use of animals on laboratory testing, so you have a good point and these regulations should be considered at the moment of taking a decision. Thank you for your comment.

  45. Maybe consider other alternatives instead of using transgenic animals. Notwithstanding that all pharmaceutical drugs today were tested on animals before approved but the number of animals killed before one organ is harvested is so much compared to the issue if drug testing. The infringement on animals fundamental rights and welfare is much here. In addition, the threat of developing animal-human hybrids will soon break out as well as an outbreak of diseases. So it is recommendable to exhaust other alternatives than this xenotransplantation.

    1. Surely the risk of experimenting on the animals and the risk of cross-breeding is an important issue which we did not discuss in our writing, and this issue should be also considered. Thank you for your comment.

  46. Is easy to call the procedure unethical when you are not the one struggling for your life.
    The aim is to receive a compatible organ in a short period of time but this, as every other aspiration in life, comes at a price.
    Animal’s lives are not the ideal solution, however, it seems to be a valuable option to work with while the process gets improved.
    For now, causing the less pain possible is where the attention should go.

    1. You mention an important element on the dilema: the relatives of the patient or stakeholders (those with a connection to the issue) and this surely has an influence on the decision. Thank you for your comment.

  47. Interesting read. I believe that no animal should be harmed for benefit of human beings. I feel that organ harvesting on animals can only be done if it does not bring any discomfort or some form of unnatural circumstances prior to the animal death. Its not right to put an animal in pain throughout its whole life just so that a human being with organ failure can have another chance of life.
    With the argument of ‘animals dont have feelings’, why not just take a mentally ill human and kill said person to harvest it’s organs? Slightly morbid point of view but I personally think that sometimes humans need to accept that we cannot go against nature and death is inevitable.

    1. Still, the animal suffering is a concern in these days, therefore, this still has an important consequence in the decision of whether or not is acceptable to kill animals for our benefit, Thank you for your comment.

  48. I think it is a decision someone has to make.
    I know there are other ways to achieve spare human tissue/organs, but while we get to the point in which we have the technology that allows us to do so, we need to take shorter roads.
    One of those roads may be “producing” them on living beings, with our own stem cells which would allow us to use just one organ per person instead of making ill people take multiple surgeries.
    In addition, there would be much less organ trafficking in third world countries.
    To summarize, I’d rather spend animals lives (animals who where born in an environment destined to produce organs) rather than spend human lives.

    1. We believe that human trafficking is an important element of the existence of this dilemma, we appreciate your view on this.

  49. It is discouraging the scarcity of organs to make a transplant. However, in my opinion, I would not accept an animal organ because of the guaranty that this will match and function in my body for the rest of my life. Even if this animal organ will work very well in my body, the uncertainty will remain. Just like you, I also agree, and I think many will do, that the way the animals are treated is unethical. I think researchers and scientists will find a way to produce organs or simply find the way to increase donors that are willing to donate their organs after they pass away. A good example is the advances lately made in the 3D printing technology to print tissues or small organs. I think this technology will be the solution to stop using animal organs.

    1. Thank you for your comment, your alternative of 3D printing gives us a broader perspective and understanding on the dilemma.

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