“The government’s been experimenting with pigmen since the fifties,” warned Kramer on the hit nineties television show Seinfeld. It turns out his paranoia was justified.
Researchers in China recently announced the creation of full-term pig-monkey chimeras. The creatures consist almost entirely of pig with a dash of monkey cells mixed in. The research aims to eventually grow human organs inside animals for transplant purposes, once a whole host of ethical issues are overcome.
Aside from the obvious ethical conundrum of raising pig-men for the express purpose of eventually harvesting their organs, a number of other considerations would have to be addressed.
One could imagine a race of pig-men objecting to America’s obsession with putting bacon on, in, or around almost everything we eat. The Baconator, bacon wrapped shrimp and maple bacon cupcakes would all most-likely need to be reconfigured to either eliminate the bacon completely, or adopt an agreeable substitute.
Of course, finding a satisfactory substitute for bacon would present an even greater technological challenge than engineering animals to grow human organs. So an interesting paradox develops. If we eat the bacon, then we need to grow pig-men for the replacement of organs ravaged by bacon consumption. However, if we grow the pig-men, then we’ll probably stop eating bacon out of respect for our hybrid cousins, thus eliminating altogether the need for pig-men.
Perhaps this brave new frontier of medical science would be better off left unexplored.