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title Animals

subtitle Xenografts

In spite of animal activist protests and the surfacing of moral issues which may preclude the introduction of Xenografts into our database of medical resources, the research on Xenografts continues. Somewhere in time it will surface with the majority of the public being unaware that this was even an option. Perhaps too, the majority will not care. As I write this I learned that a Xenograft transplant program existed in Pittsburgh, PA. That is almost in my own backyard and I was stunned. I was not aware that this program existed and thus I imagine that there are many programs within medical facilities dedicated to researching and promoting Xenografts.

Xenograft transplants involve transplanting organs between species- animal to human. The pig is generally the animal who is thought to be the most suited for this honor as it's organs and cells are closely related to human ones. At least that is what is said.

The idea of Xenograft transplantation brings up many issues, ethical and practical. For instance the spread of disease from specie to specie is a practical issue that is a possibility that arises with this type of transplantation. The ethical issues seem obvious the most prominent being the raising and destruction of so many animals to enable the need for so many transplants to be met. However, the same scientists who claim that animals are not at all like people and therefore can be used in research and in transplantation, also claim that these animals have organs very close to that of humans. The contradiction here seems obvious.

Then there are the issues of life and death themselves. These issues will bring up different ideas for different people but here is some food for thought.

Life: We are given a lifespan. Whether you believe it is predetermined by a higher power or we have evolved from a minute germ and merely continue to evolve is a personal issue. The fact remains that life is finite and perhaps, in reality, there is a good reason. Life has a span and that gives us a parameter, a deadline if you would, in which to accomplish our goals. Life is precious because it does not go on forever.

Death: We reach a time when life ends. Usually through disease, infirmity and/or old age. Whether your beliefs are spiritual or pragmatic in nature death is really of practical value. There is only so much space, air, food and water and although there are bountiful resources they are not boundless. At this time people live well into their 80's and it is probably in the last 20 years or so, with medical research being so progressive, we have seen our lifespans increase dramatically. However, we have hospitals, nursing homes, and additional types of housing overflowing with the old and infirm who are unable to care for themselves.

Infinity: The prospect of Xenografts brings to mind an infinite lifespan. The ability to transplant all major organs that are diseased and failing; would this lead to living forever? How far will we go? How far can we go? How much can we increase the lifespan of the population and still maintain a world where there are resources to keep us alive. Would it be the paradox that occurs with Xenografts? We could maintain a body forever however, we'd not have a space for it to live in, food for it to eat nor clean air for it to breath.

Animals: Life, has many different forms. Animals are one of them. Animals are loved by us. We share our homes with them, our food, our water, we love them like they are our children and then we kill them because we believe that our lives are far more precious than theirs. We never ask the question who gave us the right, we just accept that we are mightier and we are in control. Xenografts take our treatment of animals to the next level, and perhaps push us to a level whose implications we are unaware of, blinded by our need to live forever.

Implications: When Xenografts become commonplace and we have our life expectancy broadened and our population increasing and the need for space and zero population growth is here what will we do to contain this growth? Will the birth control police taint our waters with drugs to prevent pregnancy? Will the birth control police need to cull our infant population? How will they decide? The child born with an anomaly, or perhaps just the Blondes will go. Sound extreme? It was not that long ago that Xenografting was the thing science fiction novels were written about.

Objectivity: How can any human make an objective decision about Xenografts or any other animal research? It is a difficult task at best. After being in the medical field for some 25 years I have found that no matter how much pain, how much disease, or how many handicaps a person has, their desire to live is extremely strong. It is difficult to think of not sacrificing an animals life when confronted with your own death. I hope that for me, I could say no but because it is a decision that no one in that position can make clearly it needs not to be a decision anyone should have to make. Xenograft transplantation research should be discontinued, placed in the trash and forgotten. The idea of killing one life to save another should never be allowed to materialize. Saving a life will be meaningless, when that life, has lost it's soul.

This is an editorial of sorts and expresses the ideas and beliefs of the webmistress of this site.

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