Sunday, February 28, 2010

Matters Concerning the Heart...and Other Organs

In the reading this week, the most interesting part in my opinion was the article written by Rebecca L. Spang, called “Ingestion / Pulling A Rabbit Out Of A Cat”. The article articulates the story and scandal of how in Paris in 1838, in certain restaurants instead of rabbit being the main ingredient in Gibelotte de Lapin as the menu advertized, it wasn’t uncommon for rabbit to be replaced with cat, a much easier ingredient to come by in the city of Paris.

Thus with such a scandal, the dinner unaware or uncertain of what they were dinning on, it was scrawled about by writers of the time and printed throughout the papers so that it became a symbol larger than the issue itself. Soon the rabbit was the symbol for luxury and the upper class in that not only was the animal a professional at self preservation but that the idea of eating anything but a game rabbit in Gibelotte de Lapin was outrageous. As for the cat, it symbolized the struggle of the lower class, as well as the fact that they lacked the ability to question their food and object to something that was edible.

This issue of class and choice in today’s world reminiscent of the Paris scandal of cat vs. rabbit can be found in the issue regarding another mammal. In today’s modern world, there’s a wide array of genres of scandals that occur daily, but in congruence with the advancement of medicine, the scandals involved in the medical field are an epidemic in themselves. With every new procedure or pill there are ten scandals that are the result.

Lately, one of the bigger medical scandals that has been detected internationally is that of organ trafficking. Over the past few years there have been countless stories of bones, tissues and organs being stolen by funeral homes and then sold to bigger biomedical companies and then shipped to hospitals around the world, some of the organs later accused of possible disease.

Continuing with this issue, China is now accused of harvesting organs from executed prisoners and then selling them to the rest of the world to be transplanted. Thus, similar to the issue of is one eating cat or rabbit, transplant patients have the right to question where exactly their new organ is from and how it was obtained. This question also brings forth the dilemma of pride and / or need, does one care where the organ is from if that’s the only option? Where is the line drawn between morality and survival?

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