Just because we can doesn’t mean we should: Pig kidney transplant in humans

Yes, you read it right. US surgeons successfully completed a kidney transplant from a PIG to a human, without any immediate rejection triggered by the individuals immune system. We have reached a new level of scientific discovery that would have not even thought possible until just recently. I want to applaud the surgeons who accomplished a big feat, and made history today. On the other hand, I consider the moral and ethical complications this accomplishment will mean for the state of our relationship with nature, food and animals included.

The article, which can be found here, speaks on the decades of research behind the science to push science to this new discovery. The article also mentions the staggering number of people waiting for an organ transplant, as a clear ploy to appeal to some form of “reasonable” attempt to reduce the clear human suffering. Now the pig used for the transplant was no regular pig on the block. In fact, the pig was genetically modified for use as food for people with a meat allergy and as a potential source of human therapeutics. The new GM pig was altered to remove a gene that triggers rejection. Why wouldn’t someone with a meat allergy, you know, just stop eating meat? That would be insane! Instead, lets just GM a pig to fit our human needs. That seems reasonable.

I digress. The people envisioned to receive this pig kidney would be those with “low odds” of receiving a human one and a poor prognosis on dialysis. In other words, the most desperate and needy.

I will say that this article, after the initial repulsion, struck me as an attempt for a positive human advancement story. After exploring the specific so cleverly left out in the headline, the realization crept slowly, that the point of society we have reached prompted a new attitude: fear.

Our relationship with animals and nature is far from a symbiotic nature. We, humans, take as much as we can and leave them with less than what they began. We have raised animals for the sole purpose of food – does this mean we will now raise them to harvest organs? Why does prolonging human life take importance over any other species? This seems like another horrific science experiment, and the sad thing is that because they are animals it will go unnoticed.

Another consideration is the development of GM pigs for none other than human consumption. It is morally abhorrent that we have resorted to this measure so that people can eat meat? Is the standard of care of animals and nature so low or our need to exercise our oppressive nature of the world around us so high? Just for someone to eat meat? Such a simple change can be made overnight, and would benefit their health in the long run. Have we disassociated ourselves from the nature of our existence in our time: the bottomless pit of consumption, gluttony and greed? I am not religious and I believe the seven sins were right on the mark – and here we are putting those over all else, including other living beings.

My thoughts? Rather harsh – this teeters on something I would consider an abomination, almost criminal. The extents to which we have sacrificed the world around us to please our needs and wants has reached a new height. To the person who is more comfortable eating GM pigs instead of not eating meat: you need help. You are so far out left field that you need a true awakening. And if you can put two and two together and acknowledge your body DOES NOT WANT YOU to eat meat , get a grip and make a change. Your life is your responsibility. Nature and your body is not trying to kill you – you are killing you by the choices you have made.

I’ll end this with a famous saying – because we can, doesn’t mean we should. This “advancement” leaves us with more questions than answers, and a new distaste on the state of human nature in a post modern world.

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