Transplants from animals could help close a critical gap to help those in need. The United Network for Organ Sharing estimates that, on average, 22 people die each day while waiting for a transplant. Smithfield already harvests materials for medical use from the 16 million hogs it slaughters each year. The company owns more than 51 percent of its farms and hopes to sell directly to researchers and health-care companies, which now typically buy from third parties. Stanton said the U.S. market for pork byproducts used for medical, pet food and non-food purposes stands at more than $100 billion, and that excludes any potential market for animal-to-human transplants, known as xenotransplants. Smithfield has deals in the works to supply pig organs to two entities, though Stanton would not disclose the names. “It’s just a huge potential space, and to be at the leading edge and focused on building those relationships is critical, she said. Get More InformationHOG HEARTS Pigs have long been a tantalizing source of transplants because their organs are so similar to humans. A hog heart at the time of slaughter, for example, is about the size of an adult human heart.
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