According to a recent report by the WWF, feeding the ever-growing population of Earth is putting an immense strain on natural resources and biodiversity, primarily in already vulnerable landscapes around the world. Currently, the global population is over 7 billion people and rising quickly, our numbers are expected to reach 10 billion by 2060 (UN 2017). This increase in population coupled with an increase in demand for meat and animal by-products is quickly making animal agriculture one of the most unsustainable efforts on the planet.
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Pigs and people, sadly for them and fortunately for us, are anatomically similar in shape and size, which makes them possibly fit to donate organs to humans – a process called “xenotransplantation”. As hazardous as this may sound, modern science is finding ways to make it safe. The major issue with xenotransplantation is that pigs have viruses (known as “porcine endogenous retroviruses”, or PERVs) “embedded in their own DNA”. When pig and human cells grow alongside, which happens after transplantation, those viruses may get passed across cells and cause diseases such as cancer.
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