Gene editing tech should not be used to continue low-welfare farming – report

Asia's Tech News Daily

New gene editing technology should not be used to breed farm animals with traits that mean they can endure poor welfare conditions, an independent report has said.

And food retailers should commit to only selling meat from animals that are bred responsibly, the Nuffield Council on Bioethics urged in a series of recommendations on genome editing and farm animal breeding.

The council warned that while biotech could offer potential “marginal benefits” in cutting greenhouse gases and tackling other environmental impacts of livestock, it will not make a substantial difference without changes to food and farming systems – and probably a reduction in demand for meat and dairy products.

Genome editing – the precise, targeted alteration of DNA to change the function of genes – is at the research stage for food sources including animals such as chicken, pigs and cows.

Animal welfare must be a priority, the report said (Gareth Fuller/PA)

The council’s report said it could bring real benefits for food production, such as reducing disease in livestock, but could also be used to increase unethical practices such as intensive farming that worsens welfare, or breeding that results in animals that have lost the physical capacity to have a good life.

The UK Government recently signalled its intention to relax regulation for animals bred using genome editing techniques, which would only apply in England.

The Nuffield Council on Bioethics is calling on the Government to urgently engage with the public on the issue before any changes to permit the sale of genome edited (GE) food take place.

A report from the council calls for the Government to put animal welfare at the heart of its approach to the new technology, and for strong regulation and incentives to encourage ethical breeding practices.

Food labelling should allow the public to access information such as breeding practices, living conditions and diet of animals, and the Government should bring major food retailers together to ensure all animal products offered for sale come from animals that have been responsibly bred.

There also needs to be a “traffic light” system to assess the impact of breeding programmes, and the red category – covering the development of traits that make it difficult for them to enjoy a good life, such as fast-growing broiler chickens – should not be used in commercial farming.

Public funding is needed to support voluntary changes in people’s diets towards consuming animal products at sustainable levels and only when they are responsibly bred, the report says.

It says that overall the global food and farming system is “morally indefensible and unsustainable” and the ways in which we produce and consume food must adapt to provide a secure and sustainable supply of nutritious food.

GE could be used in ways that improve animal welfare and health and provide economic benefits to farmers, such as breeding pigs that are resistant to deadly disease or producing hornless cattle that do not need to be “dehorned” for safety reasons.

Or it could be used to put genetic markers on male chickens so they are disposed of as eggs, rather than killed as newly hatched chicks, in egg-laying farming systems, which only require female hens.

But the experts warned that editing genes to tackle health issues in animals could also be used to increase stocking densities of livestock in intensive systems that would undermine their welfare.

They also warned of the potential negative outcomes of breeding for “production traits” such as faster growth, bigger final weights of animals, the size of litters or efficiency of producing milk.

Professor John Dupre, chair of the Nuffield Council on Bioethics’ working group and professor of philosophy at the University of Exeter, said: “The potential of genome editing offers a new approach to bring about genetic changes in farmed animals much more quickly than is currently possible through selective breeding.

“Whilst some applications of genome editing – such as disease resistance – sound great for animals in theory, if they were to lead to further intensification of farming then that may well be harmful to the quality of animals’ lives in other ways.

“Under no circumstances should new breeding technologies be brought in to perpetuate unsustainable food and farming systems,” he said, adding that now was the moment to act to prevent it.

Hens at Leicestershire-based egg producer Sunrise Poultry Farms playing with footballs while they are stuck indoors during the bird flu lockdown (Sunrise Poultry Farms/PA)

Danielle Hamm, director of the Nuffield Council on Bioethics, said: “It may not be long before genome edited meat ends up in the supermarkets and on people’s plates.”

She said the report found that the public was generally more concerned about how and why new breeding technologies would be used, rather than the nature and safety of the techniques.

She also said: “The public recognise that our food and farming systems need to change, and it is clear they will not tolerate the introduction of any new technology that takes us further away from high-welfare, sustainable farming.

“Before any regulatory changes are made, the Government should be making it a priority to speak with the public to help develop a clear plan for the ethical use of this technology.”

A Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs spokesperson said: “We are taking a step-by-step approach to enable gene editing, starting with plants only and then reviewing the application to animals and microorganisms later.

“We are committed to proportionate, science-based regulation and we will not reduce safety or animal welfare standards.”

Internet Explorer Channel Network
Asia's Tech News Daily
News Related

OTHER NEWS

Volcanic ash delays aid to Tonga as scale of damage emerges

The Associated PressIn this photo provided by the New Zealand Defense Force, an Orion plane flies over Tonga where volcanic ash covers roof tops and vegetation, Monday, Jan. 17, 2022. ... Read more »

How Wordle has made this app popular

As the browser-based word puzzle game Wordle witnesses a meteoric rise, another similar app coincidentally called Wordle! has seen its user base growing exponentially. Now, both the founders have decided ... Read more »

Amazon and WhatsApp saw biggest fines in EU last year over data rules violations as GDPR takes toll on Big Tech

European Union data protection fines targeting Amazon.com Inc and Meta Platforms Inc’s WhatsApp helped push penalties to record levels last year, in a sign that the bloc’s tough privacy rules ... Read more »

KT partners with Russia's Yandex on developing delivery robots

SEOUL, Jan. 18 (Yonhap) — KT Corp., South Korea’s major telecom operator, said Tuesday it has partnered with an affiliate of Russian tech giant Yandex to jointly develop delivery robots. ... Read more »

SK Telecom rolls out latest AI speaker with English option

SEOUL, Jan. 18 (Yonhap) — SK Telecom Co., South Korea’s top mobile carrier, on Tuesday showcased NUGU Candle SE, the latest model in its artificial intelligence (AI) speaker series. Last ... Read more »

Retailers turn to hybrid cloud and AI to meet shifting consumer behaviors

As the pandemic has transformed the nature of work with more employees working from home than ever before it has also changed how consumers shop according to new study from ... Read more »

Auto exports up 8.6 pct in 2021 on popularity of eco-friendly cars

SEOUL, Jan. 18 (Yonhap) — South Korea’s auto exports rose 8.6 percent on-year in 2021 on the back of the growing popularity of local brands in the global market and ... Read more »

Raiders fire GM in 1st move of significant offseason

1 / 3Raiders Mayock Fired FootballFILE – Las Vegas Raiders general manager Mike Mayock walks the sideline during an NFL football game against the Chicago Bears, Sunday, Oct. 10, 2021, ... Read more »

John McEnroe embarks on bizarre pro-Novak Djokovic rant at Australian Open

John McEnroe embarks on bizarre pro-Novak Djokovic rant at Australian Open – Getty Images John McEnroe launched into a bizarre rant about the Novak Djokovic deportation furore on Monday, hailing ... Read more »

Hyundai Capital launches joint venture to provide auto finance in France

Hyundai Capital France’s corporate logo in this image provided by the company (Hyundai Capital France)Hyundai Capital Services Inc., South Korea’s leading auto finance company, said Tuesday it has launched a ... Read more »

LG Chem to build hydrothermal plastic recycling plant in S. Korea

SEOUL, Jan. 18 (Yonhap) — LG Chem Ltd., South Korea’s leading chemical producer, said Tuesday it is building its first plastic recycling plant in South Korea that will process used ... Read more »

Why giving AI ‘human ethics' is probably a terrible idea

If you want artificial intelligence to have human ethics, you have to teach it to evolve ethics like we do. At least that’s what a pair of researchers from the ... Read more »

Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak to avoid soaring energy prices thanks to ‘cap' on Downing Street bills

Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak could be shielded from energy price rises on their grace and favour homes in Downing Street – Daniel Leal/AFP via Getty Images Boris Johnson and ... Read more »

Cardinals vs Rams live stream: how to watch NFL playoff game online

A trip to Tampa beckons, but will it be the Redbirds or the Rams in action against the reigning Super Bowl champions come Sunday? The NFC West rivals shared the ... Read more »

Can NFTs be art? Wikipedia isn't sure — and crypto bros are terrified

NFT art has exploded in popularity, but it faces an uncertain future on Wikipedia. Editors of the online encyclopedia recently voted against categorizing non-fungible tokens as art. The result sparked ... Read more »

Yellowstone bison species decision questioned by US judge

YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK, Wyo. — A federal judge has ordered the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to revisit part of its decision not to protect Yellowstone National Park’s bison as ... Read more »

Orlando Bloom Reacts to Katy Perry's Sexy Topless Photo – See His Hilarious Response

Orlando Bloom is trolling fiancée Katy Perry – and their flirty exchange has fans laughing. On Thursday, Perry shared a provocative “photo dump” with fans, giving a behind-the-scenes look at ... Read more »

Rare 'rainbow-hued' blanket octopus that stretches its arms out to form a cape when threatened is spotted twirling through the Great Barrier Reef

A rare blanket octopus was spotted around the Great Barrier Reef near Lady Elliot IslandMarine biologist Jacinta Shackleton was snorkeling when she saw it The blanket octopus spends most of its life in the open ocean, which is why seeing one up close is so rare  Read more »

Meghan Markle complains to BBC after podcast claim she apologised for ‘misleading' court

BBC has now issued a statement after hearing from the Duchess‘s team – Caitlin Ochs/Reuters The Duchess of Sussex has complained to the BBC over a podcast about her Mail ... Read more »

The Best Ways to Secure Your Digital Assets and Protect Your Cyber Livelihood

The development of digital assets in the 21st century includes everything from documents saved on the cloud, to eCommerce and virtual content, (which now has adaptive database storage). Technology has created a ... Read more »

Get Up to Speed on Cisco Networking and IT Skills

For many digital businesses, IT support can be a problem. When you run most of your business online, you need outstanding support for your digital resources, so that your customers ... Read more »

Nitro PDF Pro review

With so many PDF editors on the market right now, finding the right deal can be a bit tricky. There are many points to consider, and not all of them ... Read more »

Best Pizza Restaurant POS Systems

If you’re in the business of selling it’s vital to have the best POS system in place to maximise daily sales, staff productivity, and to make the most of your ... Read more »

Controlling how “odd couple” surfaces and liquids interact

Spread out or bead up? A new process enables control over liquid-solid interfaces even with the most unlikely pairs of materials. Read more »

Cat And Mouse – As Scammers Step Up Their Game, Crypto Security Must Keep Pace

Leading blockchain security firm Chainalysis recently released the first glimpse of its 2022 Crypto Crime Reports, and although there are some signs of progress, it makes for sober reading. In ... Read more »

Wolf Moon: First full moon of 2022 will rise over clear skies tonight

Space Moon Satellites (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved) The UK will be treated to a rare spectacle on Monday evening, as the peak of a full moon ... Read more »

Energy harvesting roads turn weird science into commercial applications

The idea of a road that can collect and harvest energy from the vibrations of passing cars, buses, and trucks sounds like science fiction. Fortunately, energy harvesting is an idea that’s ... Read more »

Wimbledon offer no participation guarantees to Novak Djokovic amid threat of grand slam lock out

Novak Djokovic prepares to take his seat on a plane to Belgrade – AP Novak Djokovic is under threat of a grand slam exile after he was told he would ... Read more »

Rationalise tariffs on mobile phone parts in Union Budget: ICEA

mobiles under 7000 Ahead of the Union Budget 2022-23, the India Cellular and Electronics Association (ICEA) on Monday urged the government to rationalise tariffs on inputs for parts and components ... Read more »

A bunch of Facebook apps aren't working - and now we know why

Many users have reported that their favorite Facebook apps are no longer working following a recent change to a popular open source software project. The open source project responsible is ... Read more »

Twitter to expand test feature that allows users to flag misleading tweets

Twitter Inc said on Monday it will expand its test feature which allows users to flag misleading content on its social media platform to Brazil, Spain and the Philippines. The ... Read more »

Family of heiress who drowned on holiday win court battle in bid to block multi-million payout to husband

Paula Leeson, 47, died in a swimming pool at a villa in Denmark. (PA/Getty) The family of an heiress who drowned on holiday have won a court battle to pursue ... Read more »

Emma Bunton discusses benefits of split from 'soulmate' Jade Jones

Emma Bunton and her husband Jade Jones have been together for 24 years, but the Spice Girls star revealed they broke up at the beginning of their relationship – and ... Read more »

Portronics launches portable tyre inflator ‘Vayu' at Rs 2,899

Portronics has launched ‘Vayu’, a portable tyre inflator at Rs 2,899. It comes only in one colour: in Black and is available from the company’s official website, Flipkart and leading ... Read more »

Xbox boss Phil Spencer says a PlayStation version of Xbox Game Pass is ‘inevitable'

Phil Spencer, the head of Xbox, says it is “an inevitability” that PlayStation will produce its own version of Xbox Game Pass. Speaking to IGN, and responding to recent rumors ... Read more »

Friendly reminder: soon new ComiXology purchases will not be DRM-free

Here’s one of your last reminders that ComiXology’s digital store will soon be integrated with Amazon, at which point your new comic book purchases will no longer be DRM-free. ComiXology’s ... Read more »

John Whaite reveals the heartbreaking comment Rose Ayling-Ellis made backstage at Strictly final

Strictly runner up John Whaite has revealed the heartbreaking comment made by Rose Ayling-Ellis backstage during the grand final in December. MORE: Giovanni Pernice teases end of partnership with Rose ... Read more »

How to export data and create a report in Salesforce

One of the reasons Salesforce is a standout CRM brand on our best CRM software list is its powerful reporting function, with detailed data to help you make more informed ... Read more »

Sky Cinema 4K channel coming… to Italy

Sky Italia will launch Sky Cinema 4K on January 28, with the new channel acting as a dedicated home in the TV Guide for the service’s 4K movie content. It’ll ... Read more »

Can vehicle charging-roads power our electric future?

In most cities, highways encompass a massive surface area that is expensive to maintain considering the cost of surface maintenance, lamp posts, signage, and electric vehicle charging stations.  But over ... Read more »
On free-english-test.com you will find lots of free English exam practice materials to help you improve your English skills: grammar, listening, reading, writing, ielts, toeic