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Posted by: Trevor
April 18, 2012
It's just been announced that the University of Guelph's GMO-pig is not going to be on grocery store shelves, at least not yet.
The genetically-modified pig was known as "enviro-pig" and it had been making headlines because it would be the first transgenic livestock to enter the Canadian food supply. So far, the only GMO's in the grocery store are plant-based. But the race is on to bring transgenic pork, chicken and even beef to your dinner-plate.
The part-pig, part-mouse science experiment was being hailed as a superior form of livestock because its feces allegedly were "good for the environment." The researchers who developed the animal were hoping the massive agri-business CAFO's (confined animal feeding operations) would see the benefits of raising the creatures. But it seems they couldn't convince the Ontario Pork association to continue funding the project, so it's now been "put on hold" until another interested party steps up to the plate.
The part-pig, part-mouse transgenic Enviropig project. Image courtesy of University of Guelph.
By the way, why call it enviro-pig? Its manure was said to be lower in phosphorous. Less phosphorous is supposed to be good for the environment. Savvy marketing. But can GMO-anything be good for the environment? At this point it doesn't matter because the University of Guelph is killing off the franken-pigs and calling it done. But they're saving the genetics in the freezer, just in case.
Regardless, this is just the first round. There is a pipeline of transgenic livestock projects already in place, with armies of researchers and government-funding to back it up. The "enviro-pig" got shelved because the economic upside of the poor beast was trivial compared to the costs. The negative publicity alone would've been hard for agri-business to mitigate. But if the University of Guelph had come up with a GMO pig which grew twice as fast at half the feed cost, then they'd have a winner. That's where the industry is going.
The genetic modification of animals and plants is unleashing a hurricane of health and ecological issues which we can only vaguely understand. The more we learn about genetics, the more we see that humans don't have a clue what they're doing. Transgenic science is poorly understood, and is executed ham-handedly. We know that GMO food products cause serious health issues and strongly correlate to infertility. Consumers who are buying this destruction are causing a cascade of medical and environmental problems for the precious generations yet to be born. All for cheap food. Is it worth it?
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