Pig heart transplant: medical ethicist has no concerns

Beef and pig insulin have long been used in the treatment of diabetes. The use of beef and pig heart valves is a medical standard. Those who refuse to eat pork for religious reasons can see a problem in the medicinal use of pork tissue. “From a Christian point of view, these concerns do not exist,” said the theologian.

Demand for better animal rights

People who also reject meat consumption and animal experiments could have reservations about the intervention. “There are animal ethicists who reject any use of animals for human purposes.” He himself “does not share this view”, although he supports the demand for a strengthening of animal rights, especially in the area of ​​livestock and domestic animals. “From today’s bioethical point of view, factory farming cannot be justified.”

Körtner considered attempts to bring about a pregnancy with an embryo containing animal and human components as unethical. However, limits are also exceeded in conventional animal breeding, “for example by overbreeding certain breeds of dogs that cause animal suffering,” objected the ethicist.

“Being human not changed”

The Berlin Catholic moral theologian Andreas Lob-Hüdepohl also has no objections to the implantation of a genetically modified pig heart in a person in the USA. “If something foreign comes into my body through a ‘mere’ transplant of an organ, including from another living species, that is initially unproblematic because it does not change my humanity,” said Kathrpess, the member of the German Ethics Council domradio.de.

On the other hand, it would be problematic if the fundamental boundary between humans and animals were crossed through genetic engineering, i.e. human and animal cell components were merged with one another. “If the germ line in humans were to be changed in some way and a new being actually emerged through material that did not correspond to the species, the limit of what is morally legitimate would clearly be exceeded.”

From Lob-Hüdepohl’s point of view, animal welfare is not a sufficient argument against such an organ transplant. “Animal welfare includes or does not exclude the fact that animals are used and ultimately also bred and then killed, that is, slaughtered so that people can benefit from it,” he said. After all, it is about saving human life. At the same time, however, respect for the animal as a fellow creature dictates that genetic changes do not lead to the animal’s existence in agony.

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