Genetic engineering and animal welfare

mouse_in_a_jarThrough genetic engineering (GE), animals are under threat of a new way of exploiting them. Most people don’t know it, but biotechnology companies and scientists us genetic engineering on farm animals to achieve a higher productivity level (a.o. meat, wool, milk), modify characteristic traits (a.o. apathetic pigs, faster growth rates) and to improve resistance to deseases. Genetic engineering i also applied to laboratory animals to make them more “useful” for animal testing and experimental purposes.

Why is this unethical?

Scientists want to be able to transmit specific traits of agricultural products beyond the natural boundaries of species (like spider genes into goats and human genes into pigs) and animals bred by traditional breeding do not, in general, have to put up with cruel and deliberately or accidentally induced deformities and ongoing bodily malfunctions (T. Poole, Animals, Alternatives and Ethics, Elsevier, 1997. p277-282.)

Pigs, sheep, cows and chickens have already been genetically modified in attempts to increase their production of milk and meat beyond the limits their bodies can bear without damage. Through a process called gene pharming, they have also been engineered to secrete therapeutic protein products for human medicine.

Apart from the immense suffering they cause to animals, these technologies are unrivalled, ridiculously costly and inefficient, and, most importantly, unsafe to both animals and humans. Spreading the truth will help to end this needless suffering. Personally, I would call it a moral duty to act against this violation of life – especially so for people who care about animals. If this insidious technology isn’t stopped now, it will, like the atomic bomb, become a permanent shadow over our world. We cannot treat animals like this.







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