Transplantation of a pig’s heart: the end of charcuterie is announced!

We don’t eat like 50 years ago! Could the sale of pig meat soon be abandoned? An evolution may be underway… Explanations.

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[EN VIDÉO] A genetically modified pig’s heart successfully transplanted into a human
In the United States, a terminally ill patient received a one-of-a-kind heart transplant: a humanized pig’s heart. The operation was successfully performed at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore. © University of Maryland

It is a mistake to believe that we eat the same thing as 50 years ago. For bread, for example, French consumption is now only about 120 grams per person per day, whereas we still ate 900 grams in 1900, 375 in 1950 and 153 in 2000. 1950s, we consume three times less bread, five times less potatoes, three times less wine, but twice as much fruit, twice as much meat, twice as much dairy! Rising living standards have profoundly changed our diet.

And the cultural factor should not be underestimated, particularly in matter of meat. For example, Louis XIV hardly ever ate beef, considered too “vulgar”, but swans, peacocks, cigognes, herons and cormorants, considered more noble, and which today have become taboo in republican France!

Currently, Jews and Muslims are horrified at the thought of eating pork, which is an extremely common food in other parts of the world. The French do not accept the idea of ​​eating dog, but they eat snails and frog legs, which revolts a good part of humanity. And in many parts of the world, we eat with appetite insects : caterpillars, grasshoppers, crickets, mealworms, beetles, termites, ants, etc.

Since the horse changed sex, we no longer eat it

A few decades ago, the horse (or the mare, regardless of its own sex) was symbolically an animal “for the accomplished man”, virile and associated with aristocratic, military, macho and misogynist values, as evidenced by many ritual expressions in equestrian circles of the type To our women, to our horses and to those who ride them! ».

Progressive scholars had pointed to the need to feed the ever-increasing population of cities as well as the betterment of the lot of horses, which would result from the use of their meat for human food (otherwise they were exploited until at their last breath and often died of exhaustion in the middle of the street, under the blows of carters). For consumers, this meat could only make those who consumed it noble, strong, intelligent, enterprising and courageous, by transferring the supposed qualities of the animal. As a result, horse butchers were well established in all French cities. Responsible parents would give their children a horse steak before an exam, prefacing it with a brain-based entree. because it could give you some! “.

However, at the end of the XXe century, in a few years, useless for war and l’agriculture, the horse has become an animal for the leisure of young bourgeois girls. In the 1930s, women won the right to ride astride and in 1952, women’s equestrianism became an Olympic discipline (it is the only sport where the events are mixed, for both horse and rider). Currently 80% of licensees are women and two-thirds are under 25 years old. Girls who have previously played with unicorn dolls for years!

This feminization means that we are gradually abandoning the old dogmas of training by domination and submission in favor of persuasion and communication. Faced with an obstacle that frightens the horse, the man forces his mount using the whip and spurs, the woman begins by reassuring the animal by talking to it then brings it back to the obstacle with another itinerary.

men go up horses, but take little care of it (before there were grooms for that) but the women, they live with the horse and take pleasure in this kind of mothering which consists of preparing their mount and grooming it for a long time after work. Moreover, there are always a number of women and young girls in the clubs who agree to take care of the men’s horses, in their place. They transform them into pets, which of course we keep close to us until their natural death.

Logically, the horse butchers have almost all closed and the supermarkets that sell horse meat do so with great discretion and almost shamefully at the end of the shelf. The consumption of horsemeat represents less than 3% of the total meat consumed in France, it is the end of an era.

It is likely that if, in 2013, during the Romanian horse lasagna scandal, it had been discovered that the deception concerned mutton, the emotion would not have been so strong at all.

A similar phenomenon is happening with the rabbit, it has become a pet and most children no longer want to eat it.

Tomorrow, the end of charcuteries after that of horse butchers?

A similar evolution could well happen with the pig. This animal is genetically very close to humans, apparently even more than the monkey. The idea of ​​using it to make transplantations of organs is therefore relatively old. It would enable the current supply problem to be resolved very quickly: there is a dire lack of heart donors, rate, from lung, to care for people who are at the last extremity.

The announcement of the first transplant of a pig’s heart in a man could therefore constitute a real turning point in medicine and surgery, as important as that made by the Professor Christian Barnard in South Africa on December 2, 1967. Fifty years later, approximately 90,000 transplants and organ donations are performed each year worldwide (66,000 reins, 21.000 livers and 6,000 hearts)! Obviously, if we can raise pigs to do the same thing, that number will grow enormously. Currently, in the United States alone, 90,000 people are waiting for a kidney transplant and, every day, twelve die for lack of having received one in time.

Those ” xénogreffes have now become possible because we have much better control of the genetic. And there, no reluctance as with food GMOs, because what is at stake is quite simply… vital!

Three genes, responsible for the rapid rejection of pig organs by human antibodies, have been deactivated in the donor pig. Six human genes responsible for the immune acceptance of porcine heart were inserted into the pig. In addition, for the size of the heart to match the thorax human, an adolescent pig must be used, but it is then likely to continue to grow, with the risk of becoming cramped and no longer able to function normally. The researchers therefore eliminated a gene to prevent excessive growth of pig heart tissue! That is a total of 10 genetic modifications…

There is no doubt that this technique will progress rapidly. It is then not impossible that the pig becomes, in a few decades, an animal specialized in medico-surgical insurance. Each of the rich on the planet risks eventually raising “his” pig, adapted to his own genes, to secure his health and reduce his health and life insurance contributions!

There are already three categories of the world’s population who do not eat pigs: Jews, Muslims and Hindus, plus vegetarians, they could well be joined by a fourth, the rich, then gradually the middle classes of the first world .

And, when everyone knows people who will live with a transplanted pig heart, a pig’s lung, a pig’s liver, etc., the fate of cold meats could well join that of horse butchers. You don’t eat the one that saves your life, it would almost become cannibalism. It will then be the end of ham, sausage and sausage, and pork ribs and roasts! This may seem science fiction today, but who would have believed in the 1950s in the almost total disappearance of horse butchers?

The big problem that will then arise will be that of substitute meat: if we leave pork for chicken, it’s good for the planet because it only takes four kilos of plants to produce one kilo of chicken, but if it’s for the calf, it’s dangerous for the planet, because we are here in a transformation of 10 to 12 kilos of plants for a kilo of meat, even though the calf has been transformed into a meat eater cereals, and in addition he burps and farts methane all day long (a cow is currently warming the planet as much as a car !).

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