UK government to approve gene editing in farm animals

Reports suggest the UK could see GM animal products in supermarkets within five years. CREDIT: Photo by Judith Prins on Unsplash

Reports suggest the UK could see GM animal products in supermarkets within five years.

It has been suggested that the UK may see GM animal products on our supermarket shelves within five years. It was reported that the government would respond to a consultation on the issue at the end of the month and intend to repeal legacy EU laws governing the use of the practice in England.

According to the RSPCA, gene editing could have potentially important consequences for animal welfare. Managing Director Chris Sherwood said: “This is extremely worrying news. We have serious concerns about gene editing and its implications for animals. The impact of changing an animal’s genetic material is very unpredictable, and we just don’t know the long-term consequences. This means that there is a real risk that welfare problems will be passed on to generations of animals.

The government says gene editing could provide the answer to more sustainable and efficient agriculture, healthier diets, reduced environmental impact, reduced disease and reduced dependence on antibiotics. All of these issues are critically important, but not enough is yet known about gene editing to suggest that this is a solution to these issues.

This practice could lead to the creation of a whole new set of welfare and ethical issues, with the risk of pushing animals beyond their biological limits or further intensifying husbandry systems. Going forward at this stage also risks losing public trust.

If the government is on the verge of authorizing the application of this potentially harmful technology to farm animals, this goes against the ambitions of its “Action Plan for Animal Welfare” launched by Defra This year.

We believe there are more ethical ways to address these issues, such as reducing waste and improving animal husbandry, “eat less, eat better,” by reducing our dependence on food consumption. animal products and moving away from intensive agriculture.

Leaving the EU has provided an opportunity to set the highest standards of well-being and we believe that allowing gene editing would be a serious setback for well-being. It also calls into question UK food exports to the EU, which strictly bans imports of genetically modified food products.

The UK government’s current consultation on this issue proposes to relax rules on gene editing, which could see genetically modified (GE) farm animals allowed in England, and GM products sold in Britain. because they would no longer be defined as GMOs. (Genetically modified organism).

In Wales, the Welsh government has yet to take any action to allow genetic modification of farm animals – instead acknowledging “considerable debate within the scientific community” and favoring a science-based precautionary approach.

However, even if the Welsh government does not allow the production of genetically modified foods, it likely could not prevent them from appearing in shops in Wales due to the new rules of the UK Home Market Act.


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About Alma Ackerman

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