Xenotransplantation is the transfer of functioning cells, tissues, organs or body parts from one species to another, for example from an animal to a human being. A draft of the Transplantation Act entered the consultation phase in December 1999. After detailed debates in Parliament, the Act came into force in July 2007 (together with four implementing ordinances).
In accordance with its mandate, the ECNH concentrated on the ethical aspects of transferring animal organs or cells to human beings, and particularly on the animal-ethical aspects.
When balancing legally protected interests, the human-ethical interests such as sustaining life, quality of life, individual health etc. must be weighed up against animal-ethical interests such as protection from harm and other damage to the dignity of living beings.
A Committee Statement in favour of a moratorium on xenotransplantation expressed a majority opinion. It also demanded that preclinical research not be performed, for the moment, on either humans or primates:
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Federal Ethics Committee on Non-Human Biotechnology ECNH
c/o Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN)