Australian Group Recommends Government Allow Xenotransplantation Trials to Proceed

In January, a National Health and Medical Research Council group examining xenotransplantation urged that approval be given for trials of animal to human organ transplantation.

The Working Party on Xenotransplantation announced that its May report will argue that the risks and ethical concerns about xenotransplantation are outweighed by the potential benefits and that human trials of xenotransplantation treatments should be allowed to proceed in that country. In 2002, the Australian government rejected a proposal for a trial using pancreatic cells from pigs to produce insulin in diabetics.

Australia has one of the lowest rates of organ donation in the Western world. In 2001, there were only 801 organs available through donation for almost 2,000 people needing organ transplants.

In its story on the report, CNS News found a religious crackpot in Australia who offered one of the most amusing non-AR explanations of the evils of xenotransplantation that I’ve read yet. According to Peter Stokes, director of Salt Shakers, while it might save lives, xenotransplantation might also make bestiality acceptable! According to Stokes,

We are not ‘animals’ as the humanist would have us believe, therefore we must not allow animal and human tissue to be mixed.

. . .

Image what they would say if we started mixing humans and animal together — this would bolster their [people who support bestiality] argument that ‘we are all the same’ and therefore ‘love between animals and humans is perfectly normal.’

Who could argue with that sort of logic?


Animal organs urged. Jen Kelly, Herald Sun (Melbourne, Australia), January 14, 2004.

Fed: Pig hearts could be a life-saver. Rosemary Desmond, AAP, February 17, 2004.

Animal organ trials to go ahead. Simon Benson, The Daily Telegraph (Sydney, Australia), January 14, 2004.

Pig-to-human organ transplant trials recommended in Australia. Patrick Goodenough, CNSNews.Com, January 14, 2004.

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