Tiny piglets moving frantically in small, grey, cold, sterile cells. No nurturing, no caring, no warmth. A masked technician grabbing a shaking, terrified monkey as she huddles against the wall of her cage, desperately trying to escape having her heart ripped from her body (and from her soul).
What manner of vicious, sad, sadistic species are we that we think other species belong to us--to torture and destroy?
I'd rather see a baboon receive a human heart to help him survive than to witness this misery we inflict upon the other living beings of this earth. The baboons are more worthy of life on this planet than our sad, sick human species.
las vegas, nv
I canít express how effected I am by your program. Today I am still reeling from the aftershocks of all the information that was presented; disturbing, fascinating, bizarre, monumental, ingenious, and abominable.
The issues presented also tear meÖthe moral one. I feel so horribly for the animals that cannot speak but I offer compassion to human beings in need of treatment. Watching Frontline in the comfort of my surroundings I felt helpless, I hated having to see anyone or any animal in pain. Activists say weíre not utilizing other technologies, instead, opting for taking barbaric advantage of animals, where scientists argue that these techniques are the only pathway to new discoveries. Thank you for bringing this information to the public, thereís still so much we donít know ñ thatís by far the most frightening prospect. I eagerly look forward to part two of this amazing program.
Regarding your program on xenotransplantation, I wonder how those scientists, physicians, veterinary surgeons, and transplant company CEO's would react to the idea of using the cells and organs of an aborted human fetus or a profoundly retarded or brain-dead human being in place of those from a pig or monkey (both of whom are more intelligent than a retarded or fetal human). In all likelihood, they would be morally outraged. Your profoundly disturbing series graphically illustrates that speciesism (defined by animal rights philosopher Peter Singer as a prejudice or bias towards the interests of members of one's own species and against those of other species) is alive and well in medicine and bioengineering, especially when so many can profit by it, and members of the exploited species cannot speak on their own behalf or defend themselves.
santa fe, new mexico
I agree with one of your guests that allowing researchers to keep using animals as crutches to research limits their inventiveness and creativeness at finding new ways of dealing with health issues. One obvious alternative to xeno transplants that these researchers are not pursuing is cloning and growing of organs from an individuals own cells -- leading to organs that would not be rejected.
I believe animal experimentations' time has come and gone. We are animals and it is extremely arrogant of us to think that we're more important than other animals. Many animals are just as emotional, intelligent and sentient as ourselves. ...
I am in favor of progress and medical advances. Genetically growing one's own organs is the way of the future. Animal experimentation is the way of the past and will never work -- it could even lead to viruses which could wipe us out.
In the end, it comes down to greed rather than saving lives. These multi-billion dollar companies and rich doctors are after more bucks from what they see as a quick fix to limited donor organs -- xeno-transplants.
we have become so obsessed with evading death that we are willing to put pig organs in our bodies! Oh how important we humans are that we create pigs and keep them in sterile metal boxes until we need their organs. This is progress? This is pathetic. The human race hits a new low.
new york, new york
Once again, the commercial networks have nothing to say about this disturbing and vitally important subject. Frontline has done us all a service- man, baboon and pig alike. I agree with other viewers who were compelled to comment on the ethical quandry this program presents. Mankind is venturing into unexplored and perhaps abominable territory where xeno transplats are concerned. The cross species disease implications, the obvious mega-profit motives, the purely exploitative enterprise of re-engineering animals for the sole purpose of harvesting their organs...these constitute yet another cruel nightmare we humans will be forced to address in the future.
Pig/baboon/human surgeries are a wrong-headed approach to prolonging human life when we can already create new tissue and DNA in our modern laboratories. And without the need of animal destruction. Cosmetic testing has gained this insight...when will the medical research community?
Tonight's Frontline program demonstrated the truly horrific "rational" and "sterile" mechanisms by which living beings (animal and human) have become medical experimental subjects. Seems to me we waste a lot of all sorts of species (human included) trying to prolong homo sapien life at any cost.
Why fret about alien abductions/constructs when our own terrestrial doctors are already performing more dastardly science fiction level surgical experiments than we usually care to entertain?
I am outraged we are a society so "advanced" that we require witnessing the suffering of destroyed animals to feel our natural compassion towards entities obviously compromised.
Call me cynical, but I see future HMOs, drug companies and slaughterhouses teaming up to maximize profits. Then again, like the Native Americans, maybe nothing will be wasted from our plunders. Pets or meat or vital organs, indeed.
Perhaps someday we humans will outlive our blunders and we will finally be able to express how sorry we are for causing everything else alive to die or to become extinct to benefit our primacy. I'm not holding my breath, of course...how unhealthy.
This whole ordeal confirms my belief that we as a species have fallen short in life.I am sad and deeply disappointed in the human race.
thank God we will not go on forever....
we are like Satan to the animal kingdom.
What is so horrifing, is that these researchers believe they are doing this for the good of science, everything born must die Including us.
Let death not be looked at so tragic, why must we try to fix what is natural.. its real simple. we will never be immortal. lets stop trying.
los angeles, ca
Thankyou for another informative and provacative documentary. I have strong feelings about this subject; I'm currently waiting for a liver. I'll die without a transplant, but there isn't enough organs for all the people that need them. I've waited three years already, but I'll have to wait untill I have only weeks to live before I'll be considered for an organ. I've seen people die slow agonizing deaths waiting for organs.
I pray that medical science will develop a way to grow organs for the hundreds of thousands of people that need organs. Although I am empathetic to pigs and monkeys I believe that humans come before animals. I want to remind your viewers that at any time they could find themselves needing a transplant. If that should happen, I doubt anyone would have any deep ethical arguments about animal experimentation if that experimentation delivers them from the living hell of organ fialure.
palo alto, california
I think that the sewing of the piglet's heart into the baboon's neck as an "example", shows the arrogant an uncaring attitude of the researchers better than anything I've seen. How many times had they done that already, I wonder. They must try to convince us this testing is necessary so that they will be able to maintain funding. If the public really sees what is going on, as I believe they will on Frontline, there will be a shift in the perception that animal testing is OK if it is done for "the good of man". Some acts are just wrong. The general public, unfortunately, is too un-enlightened to see this reality, so on we plow...
san francisco, ca
I wish everyone would watch this programme, although I myself found it quite horrifying. I was wondering in the part where they let you in the operating room to show the reaction of the monkey to the pig heart; did they do that just for you? Was any valuable data at all gathered from that? Or did they kill the pig and put the monkey through a fair amount of suffering just for T.V?
Nevertheless, although I didn't exactly enjoy your program, I am glad to have seen it and found it useful and informative. I am a vegetarian but have always supported the use of animals in medical research. Now, though, I don't know where the line is, but somehow, killing a pig, putting its heart into the neck of a monkey, which statistically is likely to die with days or hours, to little or no benefit to humans, seems to be way over the line. Shouldn't we be trying to increase donor supply, developing safer, more reliable, and less cruel alternative technologies, and trying to bring public health as a whole to a higher level? I wish there was something I could do.
All medical advances come through sacrifice and trial.
It is a grim fact that we are waiting for a stranger to die. Our family has done all that it can to help my husband as we wait for a transplant. We can't match him... and the current system doesn't allow us to "trade" with other families.
We wait for a cadaver transplant that will only partially match his body's needs. He will have to take heavy drugs to suppress his immune system.
Why not seek alternative methods? If we could "grow" an organ, it can match his type and require far less drugs.
Although much has been made of the financial jackpot for the company perfecting this goal... the public is the ultimate winner. Support costs for those on the waiting lists are staggering! A lot of that help comes from Medicare (taxpayers).
the colony, tx
Have none of these doctors ever heard of influenza, in 1918 it killed 548,000 americans alone. It comes from pigs then infects ducks and then humans. It seems to me we are eliminating the duck equation and are quite possibly training this virus to breed itself within us. We can`t stop the common cold how would we stop this super virus. Thank you.
I look forward to your program, but in this case I must ask what, exactly, it is that you think you are uncovering?
The vast majority of people have no moral objection to cutting apart a pig to make pork chops to eat and cutting apart a pig to save a human life seems a far more noble act than simply providing food.
If you want to examine the moral rectitude of using animals for bettering the lot of humanity there are far more compelling cases than xenotransplantation.
Im a type 1 diebetic, insulin dependant, for the rest of my life, knowing that this kind of research must be done to improve our way of life, it is still hard to LOOK at this, but the more we talk about it, the more we will understand it (desensitizing) .
I found the program very informative as to exploring the contentious nature of this subject but I have to
say that I was deeply disturbed. The idea of using
animals in this way is horrifying to me, but I fully
sympathasize with the people who want to live and who
would even consider this option to save their life.
I think the idea of mixing human and animal organs
is nightmarish. Surely there must be other avenues of
research, preferably without using animals.
home · four patients · the risks · animal welfare · the business · the regulators
discussion · faqs · video · chronology · interviews
synopsis · tapes & transcripts · press · credits · carlton's organ farm
FRONTLINE · pbs online · wgbh
web site copyright 1995-2013 WGBH educational foundation