Animal biotechnology regulation needs overhaul

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The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion and analysis.

What do a fast-growing salmon and two hornless calves have in common?

In recent days they’ve ushered in a new era of food production and reframed the

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While the calves are a long way from deregulation or market, both announcements signal a shift in the decades-old regulatory logjam that has effectively blocked the advancement of animal biotechnology.

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. . .Complex national and international regulations, which are triggered by the use of modern biotechnology in the breeding process, rather than by an evaluation of potential risks and benefits posed by the resulting animals themselves, are thwarting efforts to develop healthier and more productive food animals through genetic engineering, argues Dr. Van Eenennaam in a review paper published Nov. 23 in the open-access journal “Agriculture and Food Security.”

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Given the advances in modern biotech, it’s time to reassess how GE animals are evaluated and regulated, and the hornless dairy calves and AquAdvantage salmon are good starting points.

These animals also have the potential to reshape the public conversation around biotechnology. The calves and salmon are not commodity crops, and they do not require pesticides or any other proprietary ingredients developed by their manufacturers. Neither are products of multinational corporations. In short, they do not fit any of the usual biotech bogeymen memes.

That “one-size-fits-all” argument against GMOs has never been valid, and it becomes even more specious now that hornless calves and the AquAdvantage salmon are on the scene.

Read full, original post: Salmon and Calves Reframe Biotech Debate

  • Paulo Andrade

    GM animals
    risks can be assessed by the regular step-by-step risk assessment procedure
    adopted by most R.A. agencies around the World. If proven as risky as their no
    transformed counterparts, or if the new risks are low or negligible, the
    decision to adopt the technology should be left to the market. Benefits could
    be discussed, but there is not a formal framework to assess benefits, the only
    such procedure we have is meant for risks. Moreover, risk assessors are not
    economists, nor sociologists and it would be fool to mix the two things, risks
    and benefits, in a risk assessment agency;

  • Roy Williams

    What risk? We already have breeds of cattle that do not grow horns. By using a genetic engineering we can put the same genetic modification that happened by chance in a few breeds into all of our domestic cattle breeds. Improves animal welfare, improves farmer safety, reduces the cost of rearing a calf (don’t have to spend money/time dehorning), and indirectly reduces illness in calves. Since the genetics for “hornless” is already in other cattle breeds, this hardly seems like it should need years of regulatory investigation.