Smithfield Foods, the world’s largest pork producer, announced yesterday that it has created a bioscience division to grow skin and organs for human transplants from pigs.
The Virginia-based company already sells pork byproducts to medical companies developing drugs for ailments such as indigestion, hypothyroidism and deep-vein thrombosis, reports the Virginian-Pilot.
The new unit is part of the Advanced Regenerative Manufacturing institute, funded by the Defense Department, which is developing ways to replace skin for wounded soldiers and preserve human organs. The company also is working with the Harvard Medical School and Columbia University to develop immunology therapy.
Bacon’s bottom line: It’s about time that pigs got their due. Pigs are highly social creatures and high on the scale of intelligence and sentience. And how do we treat them? We pack domestic pigs together in inhuman (or whatever the equivalent word is for pigs) conditions in factory farms. And we hunt wild pigs with inpunity — indeed in some places we seek to eradicate them entirely. Can you imagine the outcry if we hunted down wild cats? If we jammed dogs into tiny stalls and force fed them so we could eat them? Where the heck is PETA?
As Winston Churchill famously said, “”I am fond of pigs. Dogs look up to us. Cats look down on us. Pigs treat us as equals.”
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