Friday, February 6, 2009

Swine Fest

I have never understood Germany’s obsession with pigs. Like the cow in India, it seems like a revered animal. But apparently that fascination doesn’t end in Germany. Pork is consumed more than any other meat in the world, making up 39% of the world’s total meat consumption, compared to 28% for poultry, and 27% for beef, according to Pig International (I’m not joking. This is a real organization). Germany is the third largest producer and the fourth largest consumer of pork, surprisingly behind Denmark, Spain, and China. And just this past month at LMU – the University of Munich – two faculty produced a genetically engineered pig. For this first time, their cells have been modified to protect them from destruction by human killer cells. The experiment was critical to reduce the rejections during organ transplant, something that occurred enough to cause 1000 deaths last year in Germany. In the end, the image I show to you is simply a sign, one of a posh pig, which illustrates this love for pigs and the payoff from this fascination.

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