It helps, in understanding this narrative (which I’ll keep short), to know that pigs have organs which are approximately the same size and shape as those of humans. The liver, heart etc are all the right size to fit in the spaces left by the removal of their diseased counterpart, but they’d be torn apart by the immune system if doctors tried to use them. So it’s well known that one of the Big Projects in genetics for the early 21st century is to produce humanised pigs – that is, pigs with human immune indicators, so they can be transplanted – and to make them socially and politically acceptable.

The pigs had arrived shortly after our sixteenth birthdays; just weaned, and with a note from the Professor saying he’d pay us to raise them to adulthood. So, of course, we did. And they were basically ordinary pigs, which is to say eating machines. There was something a little odd about them; they seemed to operate on autopilot, rather than the usual piggish intelligence. They’d wander to the trough, eat, then wander back to the warm hut in the corner of the pen. Still, they grew normally, and James and I speculated that maybe they were an experiment in breeding for docility. Then the bull got out.


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