Genetic Disenhancement and Xenotransplantation: Diminishing Pigs’ Capacity to Experience Suffering through Genetic Engineering

Journal article


Rodger, D., Hurst, D., Bobier, C. and Symons, X. (2024). Genetic Disenhancement and Xenotransplantation: Diminishing Pigs’ Capacity to Experience Suffering through Genetic Engineering. Journal of Medical Ethics. https://doi.org/10.1136/jme-2023-109594
AuthorsRodger, D., Hurst, D., Bobier, C. and Symons, X.
Abstract

One objection to xenotransplantation is that it will
require the large-scale breeding, raising and killing
of genetically modified pigs. The pigs will need to
be raised in designated pathogen-free facilities and
undergo a range of medical tests before having their
organs removed and being euthanised. As a result,
they will have significantly shortened life expectancies,
will experience pain and suffering and be subject to
a degree of social and environmental deprivation. To
minimise the impact of these factors, we propose the
following option for consideration—ethically defensible
xenotransplantation should entail the use of genetic
disenhancement if it becomes possible to do so and if
that pain and suffering cannot be eliminated by other
means. Despite not being a morally ideal 'solution’, it is
morally better to prevent unavoidable pain until a viable
non-animal alternative becomes available.

KeywordsXenotransplantation; Disenhancement; Transplantation; Pigs; Animal suffering; Animal pain; Clinical trials; Research ethics
Year2024
JournalJournal of Medical Ethics
PublisherBMJ
ISSN1473-4257
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1136/jme-2023-109594
Publication dates
Print23 Feb 2024
Publication process dates
Accepted12 Feb 2024
Deposited12 Mar 2024
Accepted author manuscript
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Open
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