Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Transgenics: The Economics of Putting Mouse in Pig

Another email digest from the OCA in my In Box, and I just have to share...

Ugh. It gets more and more chilling.

Let me back up a second. Tonight we went out shortly before dark to run some errands. There on the side of the highway was a fairly large wild boar, snacking on seedheads or other finds just at the edge of (what's left of) the woods...a big but not fat black boar with a long narrow snout, rooting around for nature's leavings.

I'm not a huge pig fan because pigs don't figure in largely into my sphere. We don't eat them, don't plan to raise them, and I just smile and wish them well when I see them elsewhere. They're not much on my radar. I'm actually ambivalent to them, pretty much, but even so, I would not take one and mess around with its DNA and decide that Pig is better when mixed with Mouse because of some perceived convenience or monetary benefit I might receive. Is this doing new things by breeding for certain characteristics? that's not new...selective breeding animals has been done for millenia. Have at it...breed for a straight tail rather than a crooked, cross-eyed pigs or pigs with spots or with a bigger carcass or pigs that fit in the palm of your hand or have no bristles or that oink at strangers...whatever. But they're still pigs, with their DNA intact.

Not so with the "progress" of the bio-tecchies. Ugh. Why are our governments playing with this stuff, so so cozy with the huge producers and corporations?

Now they are trying to get around the Big Ag dilemmas rather than solving them, by fiddling with DNA. Case in point, putting mouse DNA into hog DNA in order to (now get this, how to say delicately?) to have more environmentally-friendly poop...to create an "Enviropig." The FDA will be trying to bring it to you really soon. I kid you not. Here's a quote:

These are Enviropigs, developed by researchers at the University of Guelph to poop out more environmentally friendly waste. The trademarked pigs are just one of dozens of genetically engineered animals at research institutions around the world whose genes have been altered for human benefit. (<-----Robbyn's interjection: What the heck???)And, due to a recent move in the U.S., the Enviropig may be the first to arrive on your dinner plate.

And of course there's no consumer labeling, so we don't get to decide whether we especially WANT mouse DNA in pig meat.

For me, this is hardly a dilemma, since I'm Jewish and eat neither pig nor mouse. But it's a moral dilemma because in my faith, the Bible is very specific that in both the plant and the animal worlds, living things are delineated into things "of their own type." That does not forbid hybridization but it does forbid what creation itself cannot achieve without human forcefulness and mad science, the forcible mixing of unlike things. You just won't see a lion mating with a hyena, or a giraffe with a water buffalo in nature.

I believe there's a good reason for that.

And what business do we have fiddling with ANY living thing so that it fulfills the propaganda of being crafted and edited "for human benefit"??? This is not the same thing as deciding between a pony and a draft horse depending on its best use. It's not the same thing as breeding a dog to hunt or to herd or to retrieve. This is putting part of other animal and plant DNA INSIDE existing DNA from another species altogether to freaking "play God" and it's the ultimate insult to the universe.

(That's my decidedly objective opinion...) ;-)

Aside from what I believe on those scores, I believe what drives this bio-tech frankenscience is the not-so-almighty dollar/yen/euro.

Here's a quote from the article where you can find the detailed report:

Despite ethical concerns, Ronald Stotish, the CEO and president of Aqua Bounty Technologies, based in Waltham, Mass., is confident genetically engineered animals will make the leap from the lab to the farm - and soon.
"It's the way of the future," he says. "This technology has the capability of making beneficial changes in production agriculture."

Let's demystify this quote.

It's like a house For Sale in the classifieds listed as a "cozy handyman special..." there are more to those words than you might bargain for.

"Production agriculture" is Big Ag, and Big Ag is no friend of the consumer, nor even of your mainstream farmers. Big Ag does whatever it takes to force more into less for fewer dollars into the shortest amount of time for the biggest projected return. It's controlled by large corporations whose interest in money overrides concerns about truthful labeling, plant and animal health, humaneness, consumer health and protections, and other consumer interests. Now they're playing nastier by changing the living things themselves...not by hybridizing, which is how their propaganda would suggest nature does things anyway, but rather by forcing different TYPES of living things into creations that cannot even be created by mating...rather the DNA has to be forced into the DNA of something else...by man.

What arrogance. What foolishness and shortsightedness!

Please read the article by Megan Ogilvie of the Toronto Star, and you'll see what I mean.

Genetically modified and engineered animals and plants MUST be labeled, as there has been no adequate long-term testing on humans.
It must be labeled, so that consumers have a choice.
It must be truthfully spoken about...the misinformation campaign on the part of the big corporations is staggering. Things done in the name of "health" and "environmentally-friendly" are NOT being truthful with their advertising campaigns...changing animal DNA to FURTHER industrial large-scale production has NOTHING to do with REAL CHANGE needed to heal the disconnect and bring production back to smaller local producers, which is more environmentally-concious AND healthy.
Do NOT believe that the FDA is the Benevolent Big Daddy who will handle "all those confusing concerns" for a trusting public...no way. Choice and responsibility lie FIRST with the CONSUMER (that's us) and WE should decide what we eat...and should have the benefit of labels not intended to deceive us in that decision-making process.

I INSIST this MUST be OUR choice...no one else's.

Here is their contact link if you'd like to add your two cents to others voicing their concerns:

In Canada, please write to Health Canada to voice your strong opposition to the approval of this and other genetically engineered animals. They can be reached at novelfood_alimentnouveau@hc-sc.gc.ca
In the US, let the FDA know how you feel via their contact page http://www.fda.gov/comments.html or by writing toFood and Drug Administration 5600 Fishers Lane Rockville, Maryland 20857


fullfreezer said...

Whoa!!! I hadn't heard of this one. That is disturbing on so many levels. Thanks for the information.

Annette said...

I had not heard of this either. I find it scary and disturbing. It's not nice to play with 'mother nature' (wasnt that a commercial or something?).
I am contacting the FDA today.

Killi said...

Did I give you the link from The Poultry Site Newsletter about this? I thought I had on the crockpot post. I'm so glad I can't eat feathered & furred meat any more

Robbyn said...

freezer, yes, that's how I feel about all the GMO stuff these days...it's Pandora's box

Annette, the way they sell it to the public is that it's "natural" and is something that occurs in nature. Total misinformation.

Killi, yes, thank you and I need to go back and get that link...I'm so sorry..I'm so behind on emails and comments and am trying to get ready for Thanksgiving, even though ours is rather scaled down this year. As soon as I get the backlog tamed, I'll put it here, too! :)