Selective breeding for fast growth and high yields has already had a terrible impact on
the welfare of farm animals. And now, ‘Franken-animals’ created by genetic modification could take cruel, selfish factory farming to yet another level.
An American firm has developed GM salmon that grow twice as quickly as conventional salmon. In 2012, scientists in Scotland developed a GM pig in a drive to create disease-resistant GM animals. It has even been suggested that farm animals could be engineered to not feel pain – a chilling ‘solution’ to the suffering inflicted on them in factory farms.
No place in a healthy food system
The combination of technology and food can result in great things. But when technology is used to harm the animals that provide our meat and milk, and to make our farms even more intensive, it is not ‘progress’. It is backwards thinking that has no place in the 21st century.
What is more, some of the results that GM seeks to achieve – such as preventing animal disease – can largely be achieved more safely, and ethically, through higher-welfare farming systems.
The genetic modification of farm animals has no place in a healthy food system:
- The generation of new GM animals involves invasive procedures and can result in the suffering and early death of a number of animals;
- It is ethically unacceptable to manipulate the genetic structure of animals to make them more amenable for human use;
- The use of GM animals and their offspring is likely, in at least a proportion of cases, to lead to further industrialisation of EU farming which is associated with poor standards of animal welfare and harmful impacts on the environment; and
- The results that GM seeks to achieve can generally be accomplished in other ways.
Do you live outside the UK?
If you are in Europe but not a UK resident, unfortunately our software lacks the country-specific data to allow you to contact your MEPs. Instead of using our website, please use the European Parliament website to look up your representatives (or find and engage with them on Twitter). Click here for a suggested message to send to your MEPs.
We must act now to avoid farmageddon
Currently, no GM animals are being used on EU farms nor are any food products derived from GM animals on the EU market. However, when we’ve asked the European Commission for a clear
line on this critical issue, they’ve stated that GM animals can be used in EU farming subject to certain ‘safeguards’, some of which the Commission itself says are ineffective.
There’s a very real risk that the European Commission will simply allow GM animals and their offspring to end up in our farms and on our plates without any debate as to whether this
is acceptable to us, and without any input from our elected representatives. We need to tell our politicians to call for measures to stop the spread of GM meat and dairy in our food and drink.
If you are in the UK, please use the form below to find your MEPs - the following page will display your messages to them: