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<a href="http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2067175/Pig-saves-vegetarian-s-bacon-Woman-20-receives-animal-valve-surgery-fix-heart-problem.html" target="_blank">http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/ar...t-problem.html</a><br><br>
I just noticed this story, a teen veg*n girl needed a valve and they used a pig one, with her permission. What do you guys make of it?<br><br>
On the one hand, an animal's being killed for the benefit of a human.<br><br>
On the other hand, it's saving her life.<br><br>
I'm guessing the reason they didn't use a mechanical valve was because of her age, but surely there could have been another option.<br><br>
What would you do?
 

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um, if it was really me or the pig...well...sorry pig :-(
 

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I find that very interesting. My dad had to have a valve replacement at 39. Because he presumably has many more decades left in his life, they opted for mechanical over pig. The reasoning is that pig valves often have to be replaced once a decade (this article states 20 years). So for older people, the pig valve is seen as better since they don't have to take the meds and the likelihood they'll need it replaced before death is slim. For younger people, they won't have to repeat the surgery. My dad has had several complications because of his blood thickness levels (two strokes and a brain bleed) with the mechanical valve, but the recovery for repeat valve replacement surgery would have been horrid. And they seem to have his meds at the correct levels now (and he's also now very careful with his diet).<br><br>
So I would go with mechanical. This girl is going to have to have several more surgeries in her lifetime (unless technology changes and they have other options). That would really wear me down.
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>vMaryv</strong> <a href="/forum/post/3047959"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
um, if it was really me or the pig...well...sorry pig :-(</div>
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And I agree with this...I wish the article would have stated why she didn't go with mechanical, though.
 

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Anything to keep our species going, right?<br><br>
It would seem that I would value my life more than a pigs, but the pig values his/her life more than mine. I don't think I can hypothetically make the decision. Even if I were in the girl's position, I don't think I would be the one making the decision. My wife would be.
 

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I'm not sure what I would do. I certainly won't criticize anyone for choosing to use animal-based medical procedures when their life is in danger.<br>
For me, I'd have to know all the facts and weigh all the options. I'd definitely be getting more than one doctor's opinion!
 

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This wouldn't be much of a hard choice for me. I try to reduce death and suffering as much as possible in my life, but if it's either me or a pig, I would definitely choose to prolong my own life. If one of us has gotta go, it's not going to be me!
 

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I would consider this an acceptable compromise. At some point we will be engineering heart valves from scratch from human tissues, but we're not quite there yet (support research if you want us to get there sooner). A mechanical valve requires life-long anticoagulation with coumadin, which would be contraindicated for certain people if they are prone to injury by occupation or hobbies, or if they have a predisposition to bleeding.
 

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They usually choose not to use mechanical valves in children/young people because of the requirement to take warfarin for the rest of your life. the complications associated with that can be quite high and quite devastating. A pig valve does need to be replaced, but the risks are generally considered lower than taking warfarin permanently.<br><br>
And if it was me, then I would take the pig valve. Much as it would bug me, I would still do it to save my life. What good am I as an animal advocate if I am dead?
 

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Hmmm. Did the pig die just for me? To use the just valve?<br><br>
I can't imagine they "harvest" the valve in those disgusting slaughterhouses. It needs to be done in a sterile setting. Would anyone know if they use other parts of the pig or discard the rest and just use the valve?<br><br>
Just curious.<br><br>
I do take one of my medicines that has gelatin in the capsule. I have no choice there is no alternative. Maybe I would think about it that way, but I know that the gelatin is manufactured from waste and unused parts of the animal. If the pig would die just for the valve and that only, that just seems kind of sad to me.
 

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As someone with heart issues, I understand where the girl is coming from. If it's life or death, I'm choosing my life, so I can continue to educate those around me. A pigs heart wouldn't be my first choice, but if it's my only option, I'll take it. I'm assuming they didn't give her a mechanical valve due to her age, and all the medication she would have to take (again, just a guess).
 

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Interesting story. Seeing as a pig has a similar degree of sentience/intelligence to a three year old child, let's assume that instead of pigs being killed for valves, human babies were somehow being used. Would you still be equally as comfortable in knowing that a child has died for the purpose of keeping you alive? I am interested to know whether your beliefs implicitly place a higher value on human life.<br><br>
Unless one is actively involved in animal rights advocacy, or more specifically, one is successful in getting a significant number of people to reduce or completely eliminate their purchase and consumption of animal products, I can't see the argument that that person being alive is somehow benefiting the animals or the planet. One less human (and potentially less future humans through lack of procreation) benefits the animal kingdom/planet far more than one vegetarian or vegan human being.
 

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<p>~</p>
 

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Honestly, I don't know what I would do. I tend to be a big fat baby when it comes to health issues.<br>
Interestingly enough, my mom lived for 20 years with the same mechanical heart valve. And she already had heart damage due to years of living with heart problems.<br>
My dad died after only four years of having a pig valve replacement. During the four years he had to have it repaired due to the valve leaking. So, based on this personal experience, I probably would go for the mechanical valve, assuming my doctor thought it was a good option for me.
 

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If it was the only option. I would take it and not feel like a hypocrit.<br>
Being veg*n to me means reducing animal suffering where it is not nessasary. ie-we do not NEED to eat meat, drink milk or wear leather etc.
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>PleasantDream</strong> <a href="/forum/post/3050310"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
Interesting story. Seeing as a pig has a similar degree of sentience/intelligence to a three year old child, let's assume that instead of pigs being killed for valves, human babies were somehow being used. Would you still be equally as comfortable in knowing that a child has died for the purpose of keeping you alive? I am interested to know whether your beliefs implicitly place a higher value on human life.</div>
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Wanted to ask exactly the same question, out of curiosity. If humans in general were "used", not only children, would people still value their life more than those of their fellow human beings?
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>whisper</strong> <a href="/forum/post/3050324"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
Nope, I wouldn't do it.<br>
I have passed on medications I've needed because they contained lactose or stearic acid. While it wasn't a life or death situation, it made life pretty miserable. I know I couldn't live happily at all knowing I was the reason a pig (or any animal) was killed, especially when other options are available. I can definitely say, I wouldn't take anything that came from an animal, even if it's life or death.</div>
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But if you get the mechanical valve, you have to take coumadin which likely contains lactose, stearic acid, or maybe even gelatin. If you choose death rather than getting a valve replacement (pig or mechanical requiring potential nonvegan meds), I'd say that's definitely taking your principles too far. We all do things every day that can potentially harm animals, but we don't just give up on living because of that.
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>PleasantDream</strong> <a href="/forum/post/3050310"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
Interesting story. Seeing as a pig has a similar degree of sentience/intelligence to a three year old child, let's assume that instead of pigs being killed for valves, human babies were somehow being used. Would you still be equally as comfortable in knowing that a child has died for the purpose of keeping you alive? I am interested to know whether your beliefs implicitly place a higher value on human life.<br><br>
Unless one is actively involved in animal rights advocacy, or more specifically, one is successful in getting a significant number of people to reduce or completely eliminate their purchase and consumption of animal products, I can't see the argument that that person being alive is somehow benefiting the animals or the planet. One less human (and potentially less future humans through lack of procreation) benefits the animal kingdom/planet far more than one vegetarian or vegan human being.</div>
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+1<br><br>
I don't really see any way how, in the context of animal rights ethics, to justify specifically killing the pig in order to use that sentient individual in an instrumental manner in order to help another individual. That goes against all notions of inherent value or rights, at least as I've understood them.<br><br>
It also presupposes and reinforces the view that animals are property. Confining a pig and then killing the pig for the purpose of medicine necessarily requires treating the pig as common property of the scientific community, or of people in general. It is framing pigs as a medical resource for humans.<br><br>
This single case is really important ethically because it has drastic implications for the moral status of animals as a whole. If you see pigs as these individuals who are always potentially resources for harvesting organs, what is your attitude towards them; what is your ethical relationship with them? How would you evaluate someone's relationship with you, if you knew that this someone would put you under the knife and harvest your organs without your consent, if they thought it necessary?<br><br>
Moreover, a case such as this isn't just deriving benefits from immoral societal practices -- such as taking medication is -- but specifically wanting such a practice to exist. It would be not just like taking animal-tested medication, but more like specifically asking for the medical community to conduct vivisection.<br><br>
Many AW/AR advocates would see this case as very peripheral relative to the most immediate animal issues, such as factory farming, rodeos, circuses, etc. I, on the other hand, see this case as very important because it determines the very basic ethical principles we want to promote.
 

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Also, if killing a pig is justified for benefiting a human on the grounds that the human can do animal advocacy, does that mean that, in general, people living solitary lives and never really making the world a much better place through activism -- let's say, some homeless person on the street -- can be used in non-consensual medical operations to save Amnesty International activists? Is sacrificing the pig okay when the recipient is a potential animal activist, but not okay when it's an apathetic omnivore?<br><br>
If the answer to the last question is 'no', then the "I can help more animals while I'm alive" is just a smokescreen.
 

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<div class="quote-container">~</div>
 
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