Week #10 - Social and Ethical Issues (due 4/1)

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In 1902, a German medical journal reported an astonishing experiment. A physician had attached the blood vessels of a patient dying of kidney failure to a pig’s kidney set up by her bedside. The patient’s immune system rejected the attachment almost immediately.

Nearly a century later, in 1997, a similar experiment took place. A 19-year old suffering from acute liver failure survived for six hours with his blood circulating outside of his body through a living liver removed from a 15-week-old, 118-pound pig. The pig had been genetically modified and bred so that her cells displayed a human protein that controlled rejection of tissue transplanted from another species. Because of this slight but key bit of added humanity, plus immunosuppressant drugs, the boy tolerated the pig liver until a human liver became available.

Pig parts as transplants may become necessary due to the shortage of human organs. Discuss (1) the morality of raising animals to use their organs as transplants, (2) the danger of xenotransplants transferring viruses from animal to humans, (3) the morality of raising human clones to supply the cloned human organs (a la “The Island” starring Ewan McGregor and Scarlett Johansson).

Comments

Blog Entry 10

Raising animals with the intent to use their organs as transplants is no different than raising them for slaughter. At this point, there is a human need for large scale food production and as such, raising animals to slaughter and provide food has become common practice. This medical application for animal organs should be treated similarly to raising animals for food, assuming there are no added medical risks (of using organs in humans). As with all clinical trials, this form of xenotransplantation should not be administered until testing has verified it no harm to humans. The ability of viruses/bacteria to hop from one mammalian system to another is a valid concern and should be addressed to guarantee this method causes no problems when implemented. I believe it immoral to raise human clones to supply organs. I suppose seeking an alternative method such as growing organs on plates through providing growth/differentiation signals could work as a anti-clonal alternative.

Blog 10

Considering that there is a huge industry in this country dedicated to raising animals for food, I don't see any problem with raising animals to become organ donors, and to me, personally, it seems a much worthier cause. If the technology exists to help save lives, I think we should take advantage of it. Raising human clones, on the other hand, I am completely against. Finally, I think that measures must be taken to protect humans from viruses and if that could not be accomplished, then the transplants should not take place.

Blog 10

We raise animals to kill and eat so raising them to make transplant organs isn't terribly different. One morality issue comes into play in theory we would have to raise separate animals from the food supply ones, because the transplant ones would have to be raised under more regulated conditions and contained human transgenes that shouldn't be put into the food supply. One problem that comes from this is where we get the space to raise these extra animals that do go to help some people survive but don't enter the food supply. It takes more space and resources to raise livestock than it does to raise crops. Then there is the issue with the potential problem of xenotransplants transferring disease form animals to people. Introducing human genes into animals is likely to increase the probability of a disease becoming transferable from the animal to human hosts. Some diseases already do transfer from animals to people but if the disease transfers from one animal to another that has some human genes it these genes being present could make it easier for the disease to adapt and be transferred to people. Now for the morality of raising human clones for replacement parts, this is absolutely immoral not just because they are humans and anyone would hate learning that they were made just in case someone needed a backup liver but also because the human population is too high already and still climbing at an exponential rate. We have people that don't have enough to eat and creating more people for spare parts would be ridiculous and would do nothing but deplete the natural resources we are already using up too quickly decrease at a greater rate.

Blog 10

I dont think its unreasonable to use animals for their organs. We already use them for food, so why not utilize their organs that we may not be eating to benefit the human population even further? By taking meat and organs from the same animal, no unnecessary animal deaths will be happening.

However, there is the risk of transferring viruses from the animal to the human, a risk which is amplified by immunosuppressant drugs that the patient would be on. I think pretreatments for both the organ donor and receiver would minimize this risk.

One thing that I do not condone is using human clones to supply organs. The Island is a good example of this, as is My Sisters Keeper. To do that to another human is simply inexcusable. Humans can think and feel and understand what is happening to them, unlike pigs. Technology is approaching the point where we are able to clone specific organs and grow them in the lab without having to grow an entire organism to sustain it. If we can do that, why clone a whole human and expose them to the psychological and emotional pain that comes along with being seen only as spare parts?

Week 10 blog....

It is my stong opinion that human and animal body parts should not mix. There is a reason that when the first experiment was done in 1902 that the womans immune system rejected the attached pigs kidney immediately. I think that using animal organs in humans ranks right up there with beastiality. Human xenotransplantation might offer a potential treatment for organ failure in its end stages, there are many other medical, ethical, and legal issues that we have to consider. For example pigs have a shorter life-span than humans meaning that their tissues age at a different rate. Putting a pig organ in a human body could be devistating for this reason alone. Furthermore transmission of diseases and permannent changes to the genetic code are a huge concern. Just like that movie "Splice" that came out last year when they tried to intergrate human dna into a 'slug' of some sort the creature turned out to be a really interesting/creepy mutant. On the issue of raising human clones I am totally up in the air about that.

week # 10 Social and Ethical issues

I definitely do not agree to produce human clones for organ donations. Clones are humans too and using other people for the benefit of others is absolutely wrong and should not even be put up for discussion. If the person who needs the transplant is okay with using animal organs than it’s up to them and they can decide to do so if they wish. After all we are rearing animals for meat and killing them for the purpose of saving lives should be fine. I guess like all other procedures, there will be safety guidelines in check to make sure that the animal materials are completely free of any diseases just as they do with meat and other food products. Perhaps using even more stringent standards.

Week 10 Response

I believe it is perfectly fine to raise transgenic animals in order to use their organs as transplants. If we can raise animals in order to use them for food later on, then, what is the difference if we raise them to use for organ transplants, or even more importantly, use them to save lives. Sacrificing one pigs life for one human life is a good trade. There is a chance of transferring a virus from pig to human, however, if the human is going to die anyway then what is the risk. If the human has a chance to survive or other options then this danger has to be weighed out. If there is a good chance a virus can cause more harm than the humans failing organ can cause, then its not a good idea to do a transplant. If there is a chance a virus wont cause as much harm than the failing human organ, then it is a good to do a transplant. Raising human clones to be used for "backup parts" is a very controversial subject. In my opinion, a cloned human is still a human. A cloned human still has the same genes. Therefore, I don't believe it is right to clone humans to have as back up supplies.

Week 10 Blog

It seems reasonable to raise animals for their organs, as we already raise them for food. However, instead of adding to the amount of animals raised for slaughter, there may be a way to take their organs along with their meat. This would make killing animals for food much more reasonable if there is another use for them.

However there is a concern for transferring viruses from animals to humans. By using organs from animals for humans a new (and potentially large) amount of diseases could form, which may be more dangerous than the disease, since it could affect a larger audience if it is infectious. As we are already nervous about pandemics such as the swine flu, accepting organ transplants from animals seems an unnecessary risk.

Raising a clone to supply human organs is not a viable option. First, the human population is growing exponentially, and there is already a strain on our resources. Doubling the population seems hardly an effective measure to take to save lives, especially because with so many people on the planet you (and your clone) would be more likely to die of starvation than organ failure. It is also a morally reprehensible option since it involves creating human life in order to kill it, with no real need.

week 10 reply

When looking at the morality of using animal organs for human transplants I believe the circumstances for why the organs are needed must be observed. The sad truth for humans in todays world is that when a problem occurs and an organ transplant is necessary, most patients must wait months if not years for one. Unfortunately many of these patients do not survive the wait. If animal organs can one day be a possible alternative to human organs for these patients the increased survival would be well worth the possible moral dilemma for doctors. In terms of transporting viruses from animals to humans in the case of using the animal organs, I believe many of these patients are already living through hell waiting for the possibility of an organ transplant and would risk the possibility of disease. Finally the far fetched possibility that humans could be cloned for the harvesting of organs I believe will never be considered unless the situation became so desperate in the future. Cloning organs by themselves would be a completely moral action, but cloning people to simply be slaughtered for their organs would be beyond immoral for humans. The movie however was quite entertaining.

week 10 blog response

Generally speaking, we raise farm animals to eventually slaughter them. Raise a pig until it is big and fat, and then kill it and eat it. That is how it has always been. As far as ethics are concerned, how is raising an animal for its organs any different than raising one for its meat? It is murder either way, just for a different purpose. [Not that I disagree with killing farm animals. Although I am vegetarian, I understand that billions of people rely on animal meat to survive.]

It is disconcerting to think of the types of viruses that could be transferred from animal donors to humans. However, we must also think of the sense of desperation present for a person who has exhausted all other options, and for the sake of survival, must turn to an organ donor of a different species. If this person wants to live, and the animal donor is somehow compatible, then s/he must take the organ, as well as any viruses or diseases that come with it.

As for raising human clones for their organs, words cannot describe how repulsive this would be.

Week #10

This is a definitely an interesting point of discussion. I personally, being a vegetarian, do not see any difference in raising animals for organs or raising humans for organs. But I can see that people who consume meat products as part of their diet are most likely to find the raising of animals for organ harvesting acceptable. And I can imagine that most of the general populous will be repulsed by the practice of raising human clones for organ harvesting, I find this as a choice of convenience by an individual & the society to find a human life more valuable than an animals life. I find both practices equally immoral. The danger of xenotransplants transferring viruses from animal to humans is very real but the risk to reward ratio is definitely low for some of the cases. Strict protocol and continued research can help mitigate this danger. I am confident in our scientific community that in the near future we will be able to develop schemes which will help generate organs using stem cell technology and will allow us to move away from organ harvesting in general.

Purpose

Raising animals solely for their organs doesn't seem like it should be a problem. We raise them now in order to eat them and even their offspring in the case of chickens. Yes there is a moral issue here in that their life's purpose is to serve us but I believe that as long as we aren't killing an animal solely for one organ and we attempt to use each of the animal's organs, it isn't much different than eating them which is what we would do in the case of pigs.

The danger of transferring viruses between species is a very real danger and it should be taken seriously. As long as the animals are grown in a lab setting and strict protocols are held, I believe that this can be prevented. There are always risks associated with experiments and if we never took the risks, we wouldn't know as much as we do today.

When it comes to humans and cloning in order to harvest organs, I am opposed for the time being. I believe eventually we will be able to clone individual organs and if we are able to do that, we will not have a need for harvesting organs. Harvesting organs from a human is worse than harvesting from pigs for example because humans are conscious beings with high levels of intelligence and understanding. To grow humans for harvesting would mean that the purpose of the clone's life is solely to serve a single human and has no free will. Imagine knowing that you are the clone for an irresponsible man or woman who tends to drink too much. One day that human's liver fails and they need a new one. The clone will die solely because that human was unable to stop themselves from indulging in poison. In the case of pigs, they are already used as tools of humanity. Changing their purpose from being eaten to being harvested for organs doesn't change the outcome of a pig's life which is eventually death.

Week 10

I really don’t see much a difference in harvesting an animal for consumption or for use of their organs as transplants. If a human is an omnivore then you could argue that use of a pig for either of those reasons is vital to life, so I would not have an issue with raising a pig for transplant use. As for the diseases that could be transferred from animal to human, I believe that the organ/animal should go through intensive testing for any possible diseases that could be transferred. The pig should definitely be healthy before use that way there is no risk of infecting the already sick human. As for cloning humans just for organ transplants, that is definitely not moral. It’s not like we raise humans specifically for consumption now so cloning them for just their organs is not right. I support cloning cells or tissues or even organs if possible for our use, but not a feeling, breathing, thinking human.

Week 10

I believe that is acceptable to raise animals to use their organs as transplants and there is little difference between raising animals for food and for their organs. Both are legitimate purposes that help people. Although there is a risk of transferring viruses from animal to humans, I believe it is a risk worth taking.
Raising humans clones to supply organs is not ok. A person has the ability and power to make their own decisions about their body, and their organs, and their choices may not agree with their "intended purpose."

Week 10

I have no issue with raising animals to use their organs as transplants, in the case of the pig in particular. If a pig is to be raised anyway for slaughter, but some of its organs could be engineered to save a human's life there is no reason why their organs should not be used to save a life. The danger of xenotransplants is of course omnipresent in this idea of transplanting from human to animal and I believe that more research needs to be done on the diseases and how to prevent them from infecting humans. Raising human clones for organs takes this too far. Once you being raising sentient humans for organs transplants you dive to far into the ethical issues as you begin killing off these clones in order to use their organs as people need them. The ability to develop specific cloned organs can be developed and should be seeked as an alternate to having to make a full human clone.

Week 10

1) Raising animals to use their organs as transplants is a very subjective question of morality. Whereas vegetarians would definitely find it immoral, omnivores should have no problem with it. When animals are raised so their meat and organs can be consumed, using their organs as transplants seems to be a nobler act.
2) The danger of xenotransplants transferring viruses from animal to humans will always exist. As long as the risks can be minimized by proper regulation and the benefits maximized, this should not be an issue.
3) Raising human clones to supply the cloned human organs is definitely wrong. A closed human is still a living human. A clone from a non-clone would probably not be distinguished if the clone didn’t carry the ‘clone’ tag. It just seems awful to even think about that. And I think it would be extremely dangerous for the societal values and norms. Raising a human clone to supply organs just seems such an insensitive and absurd idea that I’m afraid that would ultimately desensitize the society and humanity would really have no significant meaning.

Week 10 Response

Raising animals for organs is similar to raising them for consumption. Although vegetarians and vegans may have moral objections, slaughtering animals for meat remains an acceptable and widespread practice. Consequently, a large portion of the population would likely approve raising animals for organs as well.
Transplanting organs from animals to humans may introduce viruses, so the organs must be extensively screened to prevent future problems. The technique of transplanting animal tissue into humans should be entirely perfected before being introduced as a standard option for patients.
On the other hand, raising human clones for organs would not be considered moral. It is a form of murder and in a sense, it’s extremely pre-meditated. Murder is obviously not permitted in our society and is seen as immoral. As a result, the deliberate murder of hundreds or thousands would certainly not be considered moral. Creating clones would violate any human rights that we have established.

Week 10 Response

I don't have any problems with raising animals to use for organ transplants, especially considering the fact that we already raise and butcher animals to eat. The animal is treated pretty much the same in both cases. It is raised (hopefully humanely) and then it is killed (also hopefully humanely). Also, if the animals are being raised specifically for the purpose of organ harvest, I don't see how there could be any danger of viruses as the environment that the animal grows up in can be strictly controlled.

The use of human clones on the other hand is very different. It is not acceptable by current societal standards to raise humans and kill them to serve a purpose as it is with animals. However personally I think I would be okay with using embyronic stem cells to clone individual organs, not an entire human being as in The Island.

10

I believe that raising animals for organs is just the same as raising animal for food. We are just using the organs for a better use as to save a life rather than consume the organs. Either way if its beneficial to a human's life then its acceptable. When coming to viruses, I believe that there are some consequences but science has lowered or even remove all viruses from the organ before transplants. Its a matter of life and death, being able to live life with a virus is better than dying. I find it acceptable to clone human organs but not raise human clones for human organs. (the movie: my sister's keeper). Having human clones could lead to cloning an individual to have a second life and it would just be morally wrong.

Week #10 Response

Raising animals specifically for the purpose of providing parts for humans doesn’t seem any different from raising them for food, so I see no moral problem with it. Either way, humans would be using them for vital needs, so I would expect anyone supporting the consumption of raised animals to also support the use of their parts to save lives in other ways. I would not worry about humans contracting viral diseases because of the thorough testing of the organs before transplantation. While I fully support cells, tissues, or even organs being cloned to benefit an ill person, cloning a human and subsequently dismantling them seems immoral and borderline traumatizing.

Blog 10 Entry

The morality between using animal’s organs as transplants and human clones is very different. As we already do I don’t think there is anything wrong using animals for the benefit of human kind. We already do this in order to survive using animals as food. So I believe that there is anything wrong to use animals and harvest there organs in order for us to survive. The only problem of this is that before any of this to happen we have to make absolutely sure that it safe and nothing will pass down to humans. We have to make sure that xenotransplant transferring viruses do not pass down to humans when they are using animal organs. Only then would it be acceptable to use this kind of method. On the other hand there is nothing morally correct of raising humans clones to supply the cloned human organs. This then in turn would violet human rights if we are do such a thing and people would accept such cost even if they are clones they would still be human being like us and that just wouldn’t be morally acceptable.

Week 10 Blog

If harvesting animal for slaughter is okay then I don’t see a problem harvesting animals for organs. Either way, we are killing animals for benefit of human. When we are going to use animal for organ then there are chances of transferring virus but before we do it we should be 100% sure that the organ is disease free. It defeats the purpose of saving life if that animal organ spread another virus and kills thousands if not millions of human.
If we could just clone specific part of human organ then I would be okay with it but if we are cloning another human for organ then I think it is morally wrong. It would be same as parents giving birth to second child for his/her organs so they can save their first born child.

Week 10 Blog Entry

Raising animals for their organs is hardly different from raising animals for their meat, and I have no objections to either. For the safety of the transplant recipient, the foreign organ would have to be perfectly healthy. Extensive testing regulated by the AMA or a similar organization would be necessary. To use such an organ, it would have to be proven that the organ in question was virtually disease and virus free. An inability to prove this ought to prevent the transplant from happening. Performing xenotransplants would be ineffective and dangerous otherwise.

Raising human clones for their organs sounds silly given that we can already produce many artificial body parts, and artificial organs are in the foreseeable future. Enslaving a fraction of our race to benefit the majority still entails enslaving people, which is something that has become increasingly unacceptable for centuries. Harvesting people for their organs would send us back in the wrong direction, slashing progress made for human rights.

Week 10

In this particular society which isnt exactly snout to tail, we throw out large portions that are completely edible but not palatable to our tastes. Personally, it chagrins me how much we waste. I would definitely approve of giving animals raised for slaughter a second purpose of organs for transplants.

There are relatively few cause for fears of disease transmission. No doubt the organs will be transgenic and heavily screened.

However, raising clones for organs I find immoral. I wouldn't be able to tolerate the harvesting of humans. If we were able to raise the organs in vitro, I would be ok with that, but despite the convoluted boundaries of morality, in vivo is across that line. It is difficult where to put that line. Is it sentience? If so, how do we define the cut off point on a continuous scale?

The Island was not a good movie

  1. Raising animals to use their organs as transplants is really the same as raising animals to eat them. Only people who don't need transplants will reject the idea just as vegetarians/vegans have rejected the idea of eating meat.
  2. As with any transplant process, potential organs are screened for diseases so I don't feel like a difference will be made with humans. If anything the process will be more thorough and detailed to prevent any kind of virus from manifesting in humans via transplanted organ.
  3. Raising human clones to supply cloned human organs is a bad idea and most likely never going to happen. There's too much gray area there in terms of them being people and not having the choice to live. I'd like to think as unreliable and frustrating as the current system of human donation is, it works and everyone involved has a choice.

Animals and Clones for Transplant

Absolutely not! No humans raised for organ harvesting. The very thought is terrifying. Of course, the thing that makes it even more terrifying is that it could happen on the black market- and I think that science can predict a time in which it actually could happen. I doubt laws will ever permit it- therefore the use of human clones for organs would become a trade that was completely unregulated, used only by those who could afford it, and could keep it secret. For this reason, I would support the raising of animals to harvest their organs, for the sole reason that it would be far far better than the use of humans. If creating a thriving industy or animal organs to harvest prevented human clones for organs, than absolutely I would support it.
I don't know enough about xenotransplants transferring viruses from animals to humans to comment to seriously on this point other than to say that it would have to be highly researched and regulated before transplanting animal organs became legal.