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Pigs can now hog the spotlight | READER COMMENTARY

Smithfield Foods is among the companies now investing in bioscience and the potential human transplant of pig tissue and organs. File. (PilotOnline.com).
Smithfield Foods is among the companies now investing in bioscience and the potential human transplant of pig tissue and organs. File. (PilotOnline.com).

The recent transplant of a pig heart into a human patient is a remarkable achievement (”University of Maryland doctors in Baltimore perform first successful transplant of pig heart into human,” Jan. 11), and all the more so because it happened at the University of Maryland. Through the evolution of the English language pigs have suffered derogation. We use “eating like a pig” to describe gluttony and “dirty like a pig” in referring to a person’s slovenliness. One may also be labeled as “such a pig” if it’s a man who has behaved inappropriately to a woman.

It is time to rescue the pig from such lowly slander since that which is porcine can potentially be supreme in the world of xenotransplants, saving numerous humans from sure death while they wait interminably for compatible human donors. The degradation of pigs is so entrenched in the English language that saying, “He’s a savior like a pig” does not feel right even to me, although I’ve just written it.

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But, truth be told, we must try to adjust.

Usha Nellore, Bel Air

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