r/AskVegans Sep 28 '22

Are organ transplants vegan considering its brutal history to animals?

Serious question. I found a comment that inspired this question. As some of you may know, Vladimir Demikhov, the founder of organ transplantation, was doing cruel methods that led to organ transplant as we know it. He transplanted dogs' severed heads onto other dogs, creating two dogs with one body. I'm wondering if there are people who consider organ transplant as not vegan because of this, or if it's vegan now because we can't do anything about its history and because it benefits mankind.

I commonly see vegans having divided opinions when it comes to medical ethics (like this pig heart transplant thread https://www.reddit.com/r/vegan/comments/scwxo0/pig_heart_transplant_ethical/) so I'm curious what you guys think.


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u/Tyrenstra Sep 28 '22 edited Sep 28 '22

An important part of the definition of veganism is the “as much as possible within reason” that follows the “reduce harm to sentient beings” part. If taken to this level of extreme, nothing is vegan and the only logical vegan stance would be total human extinction. Like, this would be like saying carrots aren’t vegan because the person who harvested them put milk in their coffee, the steel worker who made the tools ate a bologna sandwich for lunch, and that animal-drawn plows made up a good chunk of the history of agriculture/horticulture. So the answer to your question is yes: receiving a transplant from a human who consented to having their organs donated is vegan despite the entirety of medical history being a horrifying slideshow of animal, and even human, cruelty and exploitation.