xml:space="preserve">
xml:space="preserve">
Advertisement
Advertisement

PETA: Pig heart transplant raises a red flag | READER COMMENTARY

Last Friday, the University of Maryland School of Medicine and the University of Maryland Medical Center performed the first successful transplant of a genetically modified pig’s heart Friday to save the life of a Maryland man, officials from the health system said Monday. (Mark Teske/Handout/Baltimore Sun).
Last Friday, the University of Maryland School of Medicine and the University of Maryland Medical Center performed the first successful transplant of a genetically modified pig’s heart Friday to save the life of a Maryland man, officials from the health system said Monday. (Mark Teske/Handout/Baltimore Sun). (Mark Teske)

As we enter the third year of the pandemic — with schools opening and closing accordionlike and overflowing hospitals forced to turn away patients — you would think the experience would have schooled us on the public health risks incurred when viruses jump the species barrier. Apparently, animal experimenters at the University of Maryland Baltimore who implanted a heart from a pig into a human didn’t get the memo (”University of Maryland doctors in Baltimore perform first successful transplant of pig heart into human,” Jan. 11).

Researchers from the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have raised serious concerns about the potential to introduce infections across species barriers when transplanting organs from one species into another. Swine influenza and porcine endogenous retrovirus are just two zoonotic viruses that have been identified in pigs. This cruel folly could expose the entire human population to a new — and deadly — pandemic.

Advertisement

Animals are sentient beings who feel pain, love, loneliness and fear. They value their lives just as we value ours. Even if we have the stomach to treat them as if they were nothing more than warehouses for human spare parts, do we want to risk suffering through another pandemic?

Kathy Guillermo, Norfolk, Virginia

Advertisement
Advertisement

The writer is senior vice president in the laboratory investigations department of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).

Add your voice: Respond to this piece or other Sun content by submitting your own letter.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement