Last night, Vice News reported on the Salk Institute’s cross-species stem cell research. With large numbers of humans dying while on organ donation waitlists, scientists believe there is potential to successfully grow human organs inside animal bodies.
Salk scientists have so far succeeded on a small scale growing the pancreatic cells of rats inside mice — so the writing is on the wall for further cross-species forays. Salk’s goal is to eventually implant human stem cells into pig embryos, and then to grow them into pigs until such time as the pigs’ “human organs” are ready for harvesting.
Like most mainstream takes on vivisection, Vice’s supposed “renegade” reporting completely ignores the animals’ concerns. The story didn’t even contain a shred of the typical animal welfarists’ lip service. The only ethical dilemma presented concerned the fear that human stem cells might turn into neurons and migrate to a pig’s brain, creating a pig-human Frankenstein. No mention from Vice of the neglect, abuse, slaughter, and overall non-consideration of lab animals, all right under the inhumane nose of the Animal Welfare Act. Yes — the AWA — that weak, industry-made and -run excuse for a watchdog program.
This abysmal coverage of vivisection puts Vice squarely in the conservative status quo, corporate media stronghold. It’s a media that hopes and prays animals will always be dominated in the most degrading ways imaginable by humans. Media livelihoods depend on it.
The anthropocentric concerns Vice does report on have a silver lining though. The National Institute of Health is, as of right now, unwilling to fund any human cross-species stem cell research. So at least some pigs will be spared a life of exploitation inside a laboratory. But perhaps only until scientific “progress” and corporate profits make such exploitation too good to turn down.
Salk presently must rely on private funding from the likes of the Moxie Foundation, whose passionate advocacy of Salk’s work in the Vice segment likewise failed to address any animal concerns. Says Moxie CEO Irwin Zahn — who himself benefits from a pig valve in his heart — “isn’t this what foundations are supposed to do – make lives better?” Yes Irwin, that is what you’re supposed to do, but not at the expense someone else’s misery. That’s called slavery.
You can email Moxie Foundation CEO Irwin Zahn directly at firstname.lastname@example.org, the foundation’s general inbox at email@example.com, or you can call them at 858.255.8525. They need to hear from animal allies.