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Read the secret history of xenotransplantation experiments



news release


Animal protection group Uncaged has slammed plans revealed yesterday by the South Korean Government to pump millions of pounds into pig organ transplant research over the next six years. [1]

Uncaged has led international opposition to animal organ transplants - known as 'xenotransplantation' - for a decade.

In April 2003, Uncaged won a historic legal battle in Britain against the international drug corporation Novartis to reveal secret 'xeno' research papers leaked from the company based at Cambridge, England. Uncaged successfully argued that the highly confidential papers revealed that the cruel and deadly vivisection of hundreds of primate had failed to deliver any progress on overcoming the violent rejection suffered by cross-species transplants. [2]

Uncaged is deeply concerned about animal rights and public health dangers of the South Korean announcement. Campaigns Director Dan Lyons comments:

"Pig-to-primate organ transplant experimentation has caused controversy across Europe and North America because of the appalling cruelty involved and the danger of creating a new viral epidemic. With South Korea's terrible animal welfare reputation - symbolised by dog eating - and the recent lethal SARS outbreak in the Far East, this announcement will ring alarm bells around the world.

"What is the point of Britain refusing to allow cross-species transplants if they take place in countries with no regulation? Viruses don't need passports."

Uncaged has written to the Korean Embassy to ask whether the moral and scientific issues have been properly considered and what measures the Koreans have in place to monitor animal welfare and prevent viruses escaping. Uncaged has also alerted the British Department of Health, which has repeatedly stressed the need for international cooperation, to urge them to make representations to the South Korean Government.

An international coalition of animal protection and public health groups is already forming to oppose the Korean plans. With pig organ transplant research fading in the west, the revival of the technology is a major concern that represents a backward step for international animal welfare. Dan Lyons states:

"Xenotransplantation is more like bioalchemy than biotechnology. Drug companies have sacrificed tens of millions of pounds and tens of thousands of innocent animals, only to find that the whole idea is a cruel deception. With 180 million years of evolution separating pigs from humans, and advances in stem cell technology and other alternatives, we urge the South Koreans to consider whether this is really a good investment.


  1. www.smh.com.au/articles/2004/06/01/1086058836809.html
  2. www.xenodiaries.org/pr030420.htm


Uncaged Campaigns 03.06.04


Uncaged 1993-2012: This is the archived website of Uncaged. All information correct at the time of archiving - November 2012.