Day 351: Coming soon: Franken Meats and Fish!

The first genetically modified meat and fish could be approved this summer.
Authorities in the US are expected to grant approval to Aquabounty salmon, which has been modified to grow twice as fast as normal salmon.
And experts trying to combat world hunger are calling on the British Government to back the use of GM farm animals on the dinner table here.
The push into GM meat could see the production of giant pigs, hens that have only female chicks and cattle made disease resistant using genes from baboons.
But the move will alarm critics of the use of GM technology who are still battling to block the expansion of genetically modified crops.
The US is expected to approve Aquabounty salmon in the next few weeks. It is produced by inserting a growth hormone gene and another gene taken from the eel-like ocean pout. The fish would be sterile and raised in vast tanks on land rather than in sea cages. Bruce Whitelaw, professor of animal biotechnology at Roslin, said the main priorities of animal breeding companies are to create disease-resistant animals and manipulate the gender of offspring.
But Chinese scientists are also working on creating bigger, faster-growing food animals, he said.
Dr Helen Wallace of GeneWatch, which campaigns to ensure any use of GM is in the public interest, warned: ‘GM fish escapes could pose a serious threat to wild salmon populations.’ An EU move to allow the use of GM animals and insects modified to help destroy crop pests ‘amounts to engineering whole ecosystems, and no one knows the consequences of this,’ she said.
Pete Riley, of the GM Freeze campaign, said: ‘We can see no advantages from GM animals in either food production, pest control or disease control.
‘We know from in-breeding using conventional methods that this causes huge genetic problems which impact on the health and welfare of farmed animals.’ - Mail Online

We do many things to which we cannot know what the consequences might be. Genetically modified foods is one of these things. Yes, it may be hugely beneficial at least some of the time, but what if some of it is hugely detrimental? This is a debate that could rage on and on - but no one has asked the question of: What is the best solution for all involved?

There have been some stories of small animals being fed GM food and then getting all sorts of weird growths and illnesses - but with the scientific reports we, the public, see, there is no way to know for sure what is actually going on. Scientists need to make a living too, so whatever they say could be influenced by their need to survive. This is something that must be investigated fully: if there is a direct correlation between GM food and tumours/illness, then it is not what is best for all.

One thing that we don't realise is that most of the fruits and vegetables we eat have been genetically modified in some way - maybe not as extensively as what Monsanto is doing, but it is still modification. When buying fruit trees from a nursery, you will see that the bottom half and top half of the tree has likely been glued and/or taped together because many fruit trees have inferior root systems (for example) and so the bottom half of a tree with superior root systems is attached to the fruit tree after making a cutting of it. This will then influence the appearance, yield, content and taste of the fruits produced by this tree. Talk to the older generations: ask them if fruits and vegetables tasted the same when they were young as they do now. Their answers will be no. Fruits and veg taste a lot better these days, thanks to a little gene improvement (no matter how crude).

Would you not agree that any kind of human influence in the natural order or progression of a plant or animal is, in fact, genetic modification? Would poodles, Siamese, bulldogs, granny smith apples or champion race horses have existed at all without human interference? No. We have genetically modified much of the plant and animal life on the planet. Where do we draw the line?

If the modification would improve the life of a being (after being researched in an impartial manner) by preventing disease - then is that not what is best? But, if modifications focus solely on the exploitation of a being, by making them grow faster, or more likely to breed certain gender offspring - then how is that at all in the interest of that being? The GM that we are undertaking is for completely selfish and short-sighted reasons. There are alternative solutions that involve better lives for humans, animals and plants - but these solutions offer no profit for the humans, so they are rejected immediately.

GM is all about profit when it should be about improving lives. So what price will we pay for our profit-driven actions? We have no idea what the results will be in 10 or 20 years' time - and we seem to have very limited interest in finding out - which is, again, linked to profits. We are the Frankensteins in this equation. We are distorting life and making it into a grotesque mockery of what it is supposed to be. I suspect the punishment shall be harsh for our crimes against life and what we claim to be our humanity.