FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

From Designer Hens to the Transgenic Omega-3 Pig

by MARTHA ROSENBERG

“I prayed for something red and shiny to get around town in,” reads the caption on a squiggly New Yorker-like cartoon, “and got this raincoat.”

That’s how food activists must feel at the end of a mixed year.

They asked for an end to the intensive farming conditions that cause mad cow disease and researchers gave them–a prion free cow. (The bad news? It’s safe to make cows cannibals again. The good news? Ranchers can save money by “recycling” their dead.)

They asked for an end to egg laying hens packed in overstuffed cages over ammonia reeking pits and researchers at the Dolly the sheep institute gave them–“designer hens” with synthetic substances in their eggs like interferon b-1a and miR24.

(“Hundreds of birds” will be bred from a single cock once the correct gene is in place says lead scientist Dr. Helen Sang who has “modified” over 500 birds so far).

They asked for pigs that don’t, as the Seattle Post Intelligencer Editorial Board put it, “Spend their entire lives ignorant of earth or straw or sunshine, crowded together beneath a metal roof standing on metal slats suspended over a septic tank” their tails docked with “no anesthetic,” and researchers gave them a cloned, transgenic omega-3 pig for a trumped up omega-3 shortage.

(People can “continue to eat their junk food,” enthused one pro transgenic pig scientist. “You won’t have to change your diet, but you will be getting what you need.”)

They asked for an end to slaughterhouses where animals are butchered while still alive and dragged off “dead piles” to the kill floor and industry gave them–mobile abattoirs. Slaughterhouses that make “house calls,” eliminating shipping costs and disease transfer. (Good news for Ted Turner: they’re licensed for buffalo.)

Not only do the technology “solutions” perpetuate the problems–a preslaughter treatment that neutralizes salmonella in the “fecal soup” chickens are dipped in; Good for the birds’ (sic) health says Feedstuffs–public monies are funding the private ventures of food commercializers, patentors and profiteers, say activists.

(Omega-3 pig development was funded by National Institutes of Health and US National Cancer Institute monies.)

Still, awareness is growing.

The film version of Eric Schlosser’s popular Fast Food Nation and deadly e Coli outbreaks in 2006 brought new awareness to, well, what else might be in the meat.

Communities are uniting against the pollution from Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) also known as factory farms.

And even Illinois Senator and presidential candidate Barack Obama has said, “poor treatment of poultry by the food processing industry… must not be tolerated.”

Scientists too are speaking out like Autumn Fiester, Ph.D., Director of Graduate Studies at the University of Pennsylvania Center for Bioethics who says the omega-3 pig is “an obvious attempt to drum up a need that justifies the science.”

“We are altering the genome of an animal to enable consumers to continue with their self-destructive eating habits,” Fiester writes in the December 2006 issue of Nature Biotechnology. “What does this say about us if that is reason enough to manipulate sentient life?”

A good question with cloned milk shakes and hamburgers just around the corner.

 

 

Martha Rosenberg is an investigative health reporter. She is the author of  Born With A Junk Food Deficiency: How Flaks, Quacks and Hacks Pimp The Public Health (Prometheus).

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

Weekend Edition
April 28, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
Slandering Populism: a Chilling Media Habit
Andrew Levine
Why I Fear and Loathe Trump Even More Now Than On Election Day
Jeffrey St. Clair
Mountain of Tears: the Vanishing Glaciers of the Pacific Northwest
Philippe Marlière
The Neoliberal or the Fascist? What Should French Progressives Do?
Conn Hallinan
America’s New Nuclear Missile Endangers the World
Peter Linebaugh
Omnia Sunt Communia: May Day 2017
Vijay Prashad
Reckless in the White House
Brian Cloughley
Who Benefits From Prolonged Warfare?
Kathy Kelly
The Shame of Killing Innocent People
Ron Jacobs
Hate Speech as Free Speech: How Does That Work, Exactly?
Andre Vltchek
Middle Eastern Surgeon Speaks About “Ecology of War”
Matt Rubenstein
Which Witch Hunt? Liberal Disanalogies
Sami Awad - Yoav Litvin - Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb
Never Give Up: Nonviolent Civilian Resistance, Healing and Active Hope in the Holyland
Pete Dolack
Tribunal Finds Monsanto an Abuser of Human Rights and Environment
Christopher Ketcham
The Coyote Hunt
Mike Whitney
Putin’s New World Order
Ramzy Baroud
Palestinian, Jewish Voices Must Jointly Challenge Israel’s Past
Ralph Nader
Trump’s 100 Days of Rage and Rapacity
Harvey Wasserman
Marine Le Pen Is a Fascist—Not a ‘Right-Wing Populist,’ Which Is a Contradiction in Terms
William Hawes
World War Whatever
John Stanton
War With North Korea: No Joke
Jim Goodman
NAFTA Needs to be Replaced, Not Renegotiated
Murray Dobbin
What is the Antidote to Trumpism?
Louis Proyect
Left Power in an Age of Capitalist Decay
Medea Benjamin
Women Beware: Saudi Arabia Charged with Shaping Global Standards for Women’s Equality
Rev. William Alberts
Selling Spiritual Care
Peter Lee
Invasion of the Pretty People, Kamala Harris Edition
Cal Winslow
A Special Obscenity: “Guernica” Today
Binoy Kampmark
Turkey’s Kurdish Agenda
Guillermo R. Gil
The Senator Visits Río Piedras
Jeff Mackler
Mumia Abu-Jamal Fights for a New Trial and Freedom 
Cesar Chelala
The Responsibility of Rich Countries in Yemen’s Crisis
Leslie Watson Malachi
Women’s Health is on the Chopping Block, Again
Basav Sen
The Coal Industry is a Job Killer
Judith Bello
Rojava, a Popular Imperial Project
Robert Koehler
A Public Plan for Peace
Sam Pizzigati
The Insider Who Blew the Whistle on Corporate Greed
Nyla Ali Khan
There Has to be a Way Out of the Labyrinth
Michael J. Sainato
Trump Scales Back Antiquities Act, Which Helped to Create National Parks
Stu Harrison
Under Duterte, Filipino Youth Struggle for Real Change
Martin Billheimer
Balm for Goat’s Milk
Stephen Martin
Spooky Cookies and Algorithmic Steps Dystopian
Michael Doliner
Thank You Note
Charles R. Larson
Review: Gregor Hens’ “Nicotine”
David Yearsley
Handel’s Executioner
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail