Senator Alice Parker: Professor why did you create a headless pig?
Genetic engineer Rik Veldman: Headless pigs could be used in scientific research, ma’am, without having related ethical issues.
Senator: What ethical issue think you are solved by using headless pigs?
Veldman: Because these pigs have not any brains or nerve system, they are unable to suffer. And hence they can’t be considered as animals for the purpose of our animal welfare law, for the same reason we don’t count sponges as animals.
Senator: However, some of your colleagues have expressed doubts about the usefulness of your experiments and question the relevance of your research. What would you say to them?
Veldman: Yes, some of my colleagues believe that they can do everything with the organs-on-chip technology. Though that kind of research is very, very valuable, it has its limitations.
Senator: Could you explain those limitations.
Veldman: Of course, ma’am. For instance surgeons need to train on life models…
Senator: Don’t we have PVC rats for that?
Veldman: Yes, we have. And those plastic rats are important, but a live model is still a different thing. Also some medical procedures cannot be tested with either PVC rats or organs-on-chips.
Senator: But why pigs?
Veldman: Pigs are similar in size to humans.
Senator: Professor you have a reputation of being involved in controversial scientific endeavors like growing human brains in dogs and creating humans with dolphin tails. And my colleagues and I have not yet forgotten the trouble caused by the centaurs your students have created. Do you understand that many citizens believe you are a mad scientist?
Veldman: I understand that. But I have to stress that I am anything but a mad scientist.
Senator: Yeah, you said that last time you was here. But if you can’t explain why your research has any legitimate scientific relevance, we might decide to have your funding to be cut. Do you understand that, professor?
Veldman: Yes, I am, ma’am.
Senator: I expect to receive a letter in which you motivate your research, in two weeks from now.