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Got Genetically-Engineered Goat Milk?

Got Genetically-Engineered Goat Milk?

H.G. Wells’ science-fiction classic The Island of Dr. Moreau appears to be edging closer and closer to reality each day as Franken-scientists find new and bizarre ways to manipulate animals. Just recently, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) unveiled “guidelines” to help companies get fast-growing salmon, goat milk that contains and anti-clotting drug, pork from so-called “enviro-pigs”, and other genetically engineered products, into the marketplace. Consumers won’t necessarily know if they’re buying meat and milk from “transgenic animals” because the FDA feels that these foods are no different than those from conventionally-bred animals, and therefore don’t need to be labeled.

This is just the FDA’s latest volley on behalf of the biotech industry. Last year, the agency announced that meat and milk from cloned cows, pigs and goats and their offspring were “as safe to eat as food from conventionally bred animals.” (This means they aren’t safe or healthy at all.) Jaydee Hanson of the Center for Food Safety in Washington, D.C., feels that this move was made to facillitate genetic engineering.

To engineer an animal, scientists reportedly splice DNA from another animal into a nucleus, and then implant the modified embryo into a host mother. The procedure is difficult, costly, and cruel; it can cause the premature death of animals.

Mortality rates for transgenic animals are quite high, and animals who do survive are frequently born with physical abnormalities. Tinkering with animals’ genes can cause physiological and immune system problems that scientists cannot control. Cloned animals pose a risk to their surrogate mothers because they tend to be too large for their mothers to deliver. Many clones have birth defects, and cloned calves have died of respiratory, digestive, circulatory, nervous, muscular and skeletal abnormalities. If, however, cloned animals survive for more than a few months, the FDA says they appear normal in most ways. Comforting, huh?

The technology behind cloning and genetic engineering is quite confusing to a “layperson” like me, but one thing seems fairly simple: Without labeling, it will be tough for consumers who are opposed to genetic manipulation—for ethical or health reasons—to know if meat and dairy products were developed using these “new” technological methods or through conventional (and also cruel) means.

This is just one more reason to consider a vegetarian diet. The FDA is obviously moving in the wrong direction. More and more consumers are choosing mock meats and other vegetarian foods. A growing number of children are opting not to eat meat and an April 2008 survey showed that 7.3 million American adults are vegetarians. Approximately 1 million of them are vegans, like me; meaning they consume no animal products. The survey also indicated that a whopping 11.9 million people are “definitely interested” in following a vegetarian diet in the future.

This represents progress and positive change—genetically engineering animals and marketing unhealthy Franken-foods does not.

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7 comments

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8:36AM PST on Feb 19, 2012

Tinkering with animals' genes is so wrong. Nature sould not be played with!!
Yes unfortunately some fruits (apples for sure) and veggies (corn etc.) are being tampered with and also trees are now being genetically engineered.
Boy we have a lot of frankensteins' fooling around with nature!!

4:35AM PST on Feb 19, 2012

This betrayal to nature with GMO can't go much farther, so I'm refusing it while watching it crumble. It's one thing to put together two plants and give life a chance to say yes or no, and it's a totally different thing to impose to life - whether it agrees or not - read whether it's in harmony with it or not - and give it no choice to save us from disasater. Some have opted out of ignorance for once more the use of violence and impose genetic combinations to Nature without co-operation with Nature, with Life, or if you prefer, with God. To leave no space to Love-Light-God is never a choice that brings achievements, but sure failure. So, as for vegetarianism, talking of love, and though I also agree that refusal of GMO can be one of the reasons, I have found my love and respect for animals to be the primary reason for my being a vegetarian. I already received answers like "but you are also harming a fruit if you are eating it" - to which I answered this: first, a fruit is a part of a plant, and it is not killing the plant (unlike root vegetables, which I eat only rarely). Some claim that Nature is happy when we rejoice in her bounty of fruits. Second part of my answer was: should the plants be feeling some discomfort or even suffering, between two ills, choose the lesser one. As someone said: there is a notable difference between a gardener and a butcher.

Anyway, for me a clear

NO TO GMO!

8:34AM PST on Feb 26, 2009

They gave animal DNA to plants as well -- equally scary.

12:27AM PST on Feb 15, 2009

I think I've heard that vegetables and fruits are also being tampered with genetically as well so vegetarians arent safe either --

7:51AM PST on Feb 3, 2009

People act like going veg is such a hassle, but it's far simpler than having to avoid the horrors in the meat case! It's easy to pick out fresh fruits, vegetables, and the wide array of healthy options that are already available. Why put stuff in your body that you know is going to make you feel lousy--now, or later?

8:16AM PST on Jan 31, 2009

Again, creepy. If you're interested, Margaret Atwood wrote a novel titled "Oryx and Crake," which touches on what happens to the ecosystem when we start mucking around with genetically engineered animals. Nice job! The more I read, the more I want to go veggie and stay there!

8:11PM PST on Jan 30, 2009

There's just too much mucking around and tampering with nature going on these days,particularly within the meat and dairy industry...an ever-increasing argument for a vegan/vegetarian lifesyle.

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