animal welfareFRONTLINE presents Organ Farm
photo of baboon x201m and a pig in a cage
Animal Welfare and Animal Rights

Xenotransplantation is one of the newest issues in the ongoing social movement protesting the exploitation of animals for human use in ways that can be cruel and inhumane. To lay the groundwork for pig organ-to-human transplants, xenotransplantation researchers and regulatory agencies agree pig organ transplants must first show survival rates of three to six months in nonhuman primates. Thousands of monkeys, chimpanzees and baboons have been experimented on and killed in the course of this cross-species transplant research (see timeline). In addition, pig-to-human xenotransplantation requires breeding genetically modified pigs, raising them in special conditions, and killing them to harvest their organs. Here is a collection of material which explores the animal welfare and rights issues raised by xenotransplantation.

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he Xeno Experiments Controversy in Britain:  Leaked Documents

These documents, detailing pig organ transplant experiments on baboons and monkeys, outraged animal welfare groups, especially in Britain, who say they reveal horrible animal suffering. The controversy was a factor in the decision by Imutran, the company funding the experiments, to shut down its operations in the UK and move to North America. Here's a summary of the controversy, a British newspaper's reporting on the Imutran material, and two pages from the leaked documents--pages FRONTLINE obtained from an American source.
An Interview with Dan Lyons

He is Director of Uncaged Campaigns, a British animal rights group which received the Imutran internal documents in the spring of 2000 and published them on the Internet. Imutran subsequently obtained a British court injunction against Lyons and Uncaged for breach of confidentiality and copyright violation. Uncaged removed the documents from the Internet and was prohibited from republishing or discussing them. However, Lyons can refer to what was reported about the documents in one published, and highly critical account by the British newspaper the Daily Express, which also obtained the leaked material.

Thus, in FRONTLINE's program "Organ Farm," Lyons discusses a particular baboon which had a piglet heart transplanted into its neck and for several days was observed holding the heart, which was swollen and seeping blood and pus as a result of the infections from the wound The animal also suffered body tremors, vomiting, diarrhea. All of this is reported in the Daily Express article.

Xeno Researchers' Views on Using Animals

In these excerpts from FRONTLINE's interviews with xenotransplant doctors and researchers, they discuss their belief in the critical need to use pigs and nonhuman primates in xenotransplantation and other medical research.
Primates As Recipients; Animal Arguments; Pigs and People

Here are three short sections from Organ Farm, a book which draws on the research and reporting for Carlton TV/FRONTLINE's program "Organ Farm." These excerpts present statistics on monkeys and baboons used in xeno experiments in the UK; a brief summary of what the book calls "grisly procedures" done on the animals; why animal rights groups say xenotransplantation is a particular cause of concern; and why pigs offer "the most hopeful option" as source animals for xenotransplantation.
 An Interview with Alan  Berger

He is Executive Director of the Animal Protection Institute and a member of the U.S. Secretary's Advisory Committee on Xenotransplantation. He discusses the ethical issues involved in using animals in medical research and why, in contrast to Britain, using animals for xenotransplantation hasn't triggered much popular outrage in the United States.
A Presentation to the Senior Lawyers Division of the American Bar Association

Stephen Wise, a lawyer who has taught animal rights law for over two decades and is the author of Rattling the Cage, joins with Jane Goodall, a renowned authority on chimpanzees, to explain to the American Bar Association why they believe a new, more enlightened attitude concerning humans' moral relationship with animals is justified, and why fundamental legal rights should be extended to nonhuman primates.

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