Acceptably cruel

However repulsive we may find the idea of creating pigs deliberately implanted with diseases incurable in humans in order to facilitate research (your report, 17 June), the practice will be accepted with the first cure to result from it.

Claims of animal cruelty in this regard are spurious. Humans have always been cruel to animals in various ways of killing them for food. Even "humane" slaughter of animals farmed for food is the very epitome of cruelty, bringing animals into being with the sole purpose of ending their lives to suit our own purposes.

The mammal kingdom has no need of milk past the infant stage, yet we artificially produce massive amounts for human consumption. What happens to all the unwanted male calves?

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We already allow animal research which causes distress and intrusion into animals' natural way of life, and this latest scientific "advance" will soon be accepted. Who would bet against further refinement of the process by creating similar humans?


Ormiston Road


In your report on the creation of pigs which have been genetically modified to contract fatal human diseases, you missed one very important aspect of this type of research.

It is recognised that these experiments can cause very serious suffering to the animals bred to be humanised. It is also admitted that animal research is far from an exact science and offers no guarantee of success. However, there is another sinister side to this area of animal research which few people are willing to acknowledge.

When you genetically modify animals to make them more like humans, you create a bridge which diseases, including new illnesses to which humans have neither immunity nor medication, can cross from animals to people.

You do not have to be given medications or transplant organs produced from the research to be at risk from these experiments. A laboratory technician could unknowingly be infected with a new disease and carry it out into the wider community long before any symptoms become apparent.

Because animal research laboratories are policed by the Home Office in London and are shrouded in secrecy, local health boards in Scotland have no idea if any premises conducting dangerous experiments exist within their area.


Animal Concern