Xenotransplantation: Animal-to-Human Transplantation

New Zealand's Bioethics Council has launched a discussion documenton the subject entitled “The Cultural, Spiritual and Ethical Aspects of Xenotransplantation: Animal-to-Human Transplantation”.The Council is embarking on a public dialogue project to listento the views of New Zealanders on the cultural, ethical and socialaspects of xenotransplantation.

The discussion document is available from its website: www.bioethics.org.nz.
There are a number of xenotransplantation or animal-to-human transplantation procedures. They potentially offer treatment for serious conditionssuch as kidney or liver failure and diabetes. At the same time, xenotransplantation raises significant questions around the cultural, ethical and spiritual issues for many people, as well as questions around risks to public health, and implications for animal welfare.These cultural, spiritual and ethical considerations need to be explored and understood.

The role of the Bioethics Council is to provide information, engage New Zealanders in dialogue and provide advice to government, which could lead to legislation on the matter. To have your say about xenotransplantation consider becoming involved in one or moreof the following activities which will be taking place between March and May 2005:

  • Join the online discussion forum, which will run from 1 March 2005. To register, log on to www.bioethics.org.nz/dialogue/forum/
  • Attenda dialogue event. These will take place during April and May 2005. Details of where and when will be posted on the Bioethics Council website. Dialogue seeks to build understanding, rather than persuading people to adopt a position. The dialogue events provide participants with a non-threatening ‘space’to discuss and debate the issues and examine their own deeply held convictions without fear of personal attack. To register your interest email xeno@bioethics.org.nz.
  • Make a submission by mail, email or online.There is a submission form on the Council website: www.bioethics.org.nz.
  • Get together with whanau, friends or workmates and have a discussion. We want people thinking and talking about these topics, even if you do not end up writing anything down.Our website has links to ideas on running dialogue groups.