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Xenotransplantation cruel and dangerous

1 February 2005

Xenotransplantation cruel and dangerous

SAFE, one of New Zealand¹s leading animal advocacy organisations will strongly oppose xenotransplantation as it believes this practice will cause widespread misery and suffering for both humans and animals alike.

"The Bioethics Council¹s call for public submissions on xenotransplantation (putting animal organs or tissue into humans) is one of the most important issues this Council will ever deal with", says Hans Kriek, Campaign Director of SAFE

"Xenotransplantation is offered as a possible chance for a cure for a limited number of sick people but has the potential to unleash killer epidemics of never before seen proportions". All animals harbour viruses and there is no better way to jump the species barrier than to implant animal organs into humans. The AIDS epidemic began when HIV crossed from monkeys into humans. HTLV, a virus that causes leukaemia also crossed the species barrier as did a number of other viruses. Xenotransplantation raises the stakes even further by increasing the danger of new, dreadful epidemics".

"Xenotransplantation is not only a threat to human survival but also to millions of animals suffering in laboratories. Animal organs used for xenotransplantation are not by-products from the slaughterhouse but come from transgenic animals that suffer from genetic engineering, cloning, reproductive manipulations, surgical operations and close confinement in unnatural indoor conditions".

"These genetically engineered animals are subjected to many inherently distressing and painful procedures and can suffer severe health problems. Transgenic pigs at the Beltsville Research Centre in the US for instance, suffered from damaged vision, deformed skulls, inability to walk and increased susceptibility to gastric ulcers and pneumonia".

"Xenotransplantation is heavily promoted by biotech and pharmaceutical companies who would gain huge profits from breeding transgenic animals and selling anti-rejection and other drugs. Preventative healthcare and changes to human donor recruitment policies however are a far more intelligent and humane approach to saving human lives than pursuing misguided xenotransplant programs which offer little more than continued suffering for both animals and humans".

ENDS

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