Jews and Muslims are horrified at the idea of eating pork, which is a very common food in other parts of the world. Many people may not admit to eating horses, dogs, or cats but they may eat snakes, snails, and frogs’ legs, which arouses great opposition from a large part of mankind. And in many parts of the world, people eat insects with an appetite: caterpillars, grasshoppers, crickets, earthworms, beetles, termites, ants, etc.
Eating Porc may become uncool!
Pigs are genetically very close to humans, apparently even closer than monkeys. The idea of using them for organ transplantation is relatively old. It would allow us to solve the current organs supply problem very quickly: there is a serious shortage of heart, spleen, and lung donors to treat people who are holding to their lives by a thread.
The announcement of the first transplant of a human heart from a pig could therefore be a real turning point in medicine and surgery, as important as the transplant performed by Professor Christian Barnard in South Africa on December 2, 1967. Fifty years later, about 90,000 organ transplants and donations are performed each year worldwide (66,000 kidneys, 21,000 livers, and 6,000 hearts)! Obviously, if pigs could be bred to meet these organ shortages, the number of transplantations would increase enormously. Currently, 90,000 people are waiting for a kidney transplant in the USA alone, and every day 12 people die because they cannot get a kidney in time.
These “xenotransplants” are now possible because we have much better control over genetics. Three genes responsible for the rapid rejection of pig organs by human antibodies have been inactivated in the donor pigs. Six human genes responsible for the pig’s heart immune response were inserted into the pig. In addition, to adapt the heart size to the human chest, a young pig is used, but it is likely to continue to grow, with the risk of becoming too big and unable to function normally. The researchers, therefore, removed a gene to prevent overgrowth of the pig’s heart tissue! That’s a total of 10 genetic changes.
There is no doubt that this technique will develop rapidly. Therefore, it is not impossible that within a few decades the pig will become a specialized medical and surgical insurance animal. Each of the worlds rich can eventually breed their” pigs, adapted to their own genes, to guarantee their survival if a transplant ever becomes a necessity.
There are already three groups of the world’s population that don’t eat pigs: Jews, Muslims and Hindus, and vegetarians, and there may well be new categories: the rich, and then gradually the middle classes of the first world.
And when everyone will start knowing people who live with a transplanted pig heart, pig lung, pig liver, etc., the fate of pig slaughterhouses may well be the same as that of horse slaughterhouses. You don’t eat what saves your life, that would be almost anthropophagy. No more ham, sausages, pork chops, and bacon! It may sound like science fiction today, but who would have thought in the 1960s that horse slaughterhouses would almost disappear?
The big problem that would then arise would be replacement meat: If we choose chicken instead of pork, it’s good for the planet because it takes only 4 Kg of feed to produce 1 Kg of chicken, but if we choose beef for replacing porc, it would be dangerous for the planet because we’re talking about a conversion of 10-12 Kilograms of feed for only 1 Kg of meat, and on top of that cattle releases methane all day long which is one of the leading causes of global warming.
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