The moral impact of genetic engineering of agriculture animals in ...

alarmduckBiotechnologie

12 déc. 2012 (il y a 9 années et 1 mois)

545 vue(s)


1


ON
FRANKEN FISH

AND
THE MEANING OF
HUMAN EVOLUTION


T
he

advisory
board

of the

F
ood and Drug
A
dministration

h
eld
meeting
s

in
September 2010
,

regarding the

approval

of
g
enetic modified salmon
(known as
Franken fish
)

developed by the Aqua Bounty Company
.
According to news reports, t
he only
concern the

FDA

had

was

the
possible
cause of allergic reaction in some population. If
approved
after further
studies, th
e
Franken

fish could be sold within two years from fish farms to
super markets
. There was also the
issue of labeling such animal

since

t
he
GE
industries
have

been

f
ight
ing

the
labeling law

in order
to protect
their
interest
s
. Without
proper

labeling of a genetic modified product, the
public

will

have no idea of what they are
consuming
.





The Public
S
ay No

Although

the current debates
are

mainly
evolved around

the safety issue
s

of
consuming
g
e
netic modified
food products, m
y argument is that
the
eventual

approval

of such food
has no
validity
o
ver

the
critical

iss
ue
, that is

the destructive
consequences of
genetic engineering

on plants and animals
,
since no one is certain of
i
ts harmful
impacts on humans,
a

manmade
sickness to the animals and overall

environment
al risks
.

The biotechnology of recombining genes from different animals and plants,
in order to change their biological function and features for utility purposes,
is a crime again
st nature. It is in every sense anti
-
life, anti
-
evolution and
anti
-
ethics
.

The

earth

in which we inhabit is
achieved through

the
experiential process

of

evol
ution

over

billions

of years
. There is absolutely
no evidence that nature would favor the interest
of our species over others,
but the trans
-
genetic technology is reshaping life by altering the
s
tructure
of genetic material in living organism
. It is

a
n unjust
practice

mainly
driven
by profitability.


And there is
another

ethical implication, that is bot
h the consumers and the
animals are being made into lab guinea pigs by the multibillion dollar
agribusiness, and they are making huge profit from both.
It is in this
context that the public must exercise scrutiny.


2


Salmon are wild animals, they do not belo
ng to laboratories, nor to be
confined in crowded prison farms.

The

serious
controvers
ies

over

the G
.
E
.

salmon

have
generated strong
objections

from
co
nsumers, environmental
groups, animal welfare groups and fishing
industries.

The American Anti
-
Vivisection Society and Farm Sanctuary had submitted a

protest letter

to
the FDA, s
igned by 14 animal protection organizations that represent
millions of supporters
.
According to a
poll

taken by
CNN on Dec. 24, 2010
,

at least 45% of the
people would NOT eat the
Franken

salmon.


W
hat is
F
ranken
F
ish
?


It is a

deformed
trans
-
genetic
fish

reared in intensive aquaculture system
.
Its rapid growth

is boosted by a recombinant technique
-
the

adding

of
a
gr
o
wth gene from the pacific
Chinook

salmon

and
a
gene from the ocean
pout.
T
he

fish grows twice as faster than its wild relatives due to the
presence of the

recombine
d

DNA in c
el
ls through
out
the fish body
.


In order for the company to control its intellectual property, the fish
animal
s

are made sterile

(
one more vice to monopolize their profits
)
.
As
proprietor of the patented salmon, the

company is

able to capitalize the fish
markets and
ha
ve

the exclusive right

to create, own and sell eggs to fish
farmers
.
The question is: H
ow could a

for profit company be allowed to

manipulate

or destroy

a
piece of nature?




Frankenfish, the big one in the back


Aqua

Bounty Technologies


The Franken fish created in
the
lab
orator
y
,

by de
finition,

is a

sick animal
being inflicted with

a

manmade disease

by altering
its

physiological
functions.

Since the
fish are

created by sick science
,

they

must be

confined

3


and isolated
in tanks
just like sick patients

in hospital wards
, so to

prevent
the contamination of the healthy others.

Can we allow such
sick

practice?



The Health

Controversy

T
he

adverse
effect
s

of consuming G
.
E
.

animals
ha
ve

long been
a
health

controversy
.

So far, n
o government agenc
y

and no scientific stud
y

can rule
o
ut the

long term
effects

from

ingesting such
food since

N
ature works much
slower than the digestion of
an experimental
animal.

One thing we do know
is that t
he higher
hormone level in
farmed animals

have been linked to
higher cancer risks.


Many
G
.
E
.

food

items

ha
ve

already

become part of our diet including wheat,
rice, soy beans, corns, chickens and milk
.

S
o far no GE animal has ever
been approved for human consumption in the US. The approval of
trans
-
genetic
fish will open the flood gate for more inbred

science to experiment
on other animals
. I
n fact, a pig is being developed in Canada called Enviro
pig, whose manure is less polluting and
genetic

modified
cow
s
do not
produce methane in their flatulence
. The applications for

the approval of

both G
.
E
.

anim
als are
already
next in line
.

There is no
limit
as
to what
the
G
.
E
.

technology

can do to exploit other
sentient beings

since they have
absolutely no ethical consideration for the wellbeing of the
genetic modified

animals.


As for our own health, n
o one
ca
n be certain that the animal we consum
e

with

mixed
DNA

and hormone
s

could
pose collective risks
to our own
biological
integrity

in the long run.
It

is up to
N
ature to decide the

working

order of things
. We have no idea how would N
ature tr
y

to fix

the

problems
created
by
bio
-
tech
nology; the consequences can
be
quite

scary than we
could

ever imagine.



Environmental
Risks

The creation of
G.E.

fish also poses threat to the environment.
The
re is no
guarantee of the

containment of the biotech salmon
. It

is

likely that s
ome
will
escape to the wild
. The

mixing of sterile genetic fish with native salmon
species
poses
biological and genetic risks

and demise
on

the wild salmon
.
T
he fish will compete with wild salmon for habitat
,

thus pushing them to

4


collapse and

cause extinction as the normal salmon lose their traits
necessary for survival
. The result is
the

disruption

of natural selection and
co
-
habitation.

The
escape

of genetic modified salmon
means irreversible chaos for the
living network.
Even the genetic scientists cannot be certain
of its

effects on
the

environment
,
and when it does happen, there will be no cure as the
consequences are irreversible.

Nature operates on a grand scale

beyond scientific knowledge, it

remains

a
mystery
. I
ts va
st
operation

of sustaining every single life on earth cannot be
reduced to
mere
economic values.
The moral
question we need to address
here
is

that: d
o humans have rights to alter the way of nature

and to treat
non
-
humans

as

commodities

and lab tools
?


A
Simple Equation

As human population explodes
, reaching 9 billion by 2050
, it seems
rational
and necessary
to downsize the number rather than boosting its
growth by producing more bio
-
tech food
.

Ethics must be the
main
guide for
medical and scientific resea
rch (see my footnote on further reading).

The
company

that developed the Franken fish

claims that this new animal
product would help the world to meet the rising demand for seafood and as
means to fight world hunger. The truth is there is no shortage of fo
od, the
problem of hunger is caused by unfair and uneven distribution of food.

The simple equation is
that
t
he
higher
dens
ity of

human car
ni
vores
forces
to raise more

animals

in factory

farm
s including
GE modified

ones
, and vice
versa
,

a

vicious cycles of
irreversible
destruction

of the environment

which

hasten
s

species extinction.


T
he chilling consequences of g
enetic modified
products

goes far
beyond the
concern of food
safety
.


Fish

Do

Feel Pain
, Confirmed by Leading Scientists

T
he
ge
netic engineered
salmon grow four times faster than the normal ones

and
conceivably
they
can
suffer
from

internal

imbalance
.

With
the
rapid
and
abnormal
weight

gain
, the fish can no longer swim
efficiently

as
they
were

supposed
to

migrate in great distance
; instead, they are

raised

in

5


inland

aqua
factory
farms
located

hundreds
of
miles away from the ocean
-
their natural habitat.

In i
ntensive fish farming
, the salmon are

confine
d in

high density
which
creates social

problems

for the animals

(the same
with

hum
an over population which has caused social chaos

with

increas
ing

crime rates)
.

A crowded salmon farm contains as much as 50,000 in one
single enclosure
! M
any suffer from infection, parasites
,

debilitating injuries

and other diseases
from

spend
ing

their entire li
ves

in polluted water.




A
lthough the fishing industries argue that fish lack brain complexity to feel
pain
,

b
ut

such assumption has been
met with strong refutations from

scientific communities
:


In 2003
,

Edinburgh University researchers
c
onfir
m
ed that

the rainbow

trout ha
s

pol
y
-
nociceptors around
its

face and
head with nervous system to detect painful stimuli
, which means fish
can

definitely
feel pain.

Dr. John Baker, an Oxford University
Z
oologist, states
that lobs
ter
s

(can live up to 10
0 years) show extrem
e

pain and
trauma

response

when being boil
ed alive
.


Dr. Lynne Sneddon, a physiologist at the
Liverpool Univer
si
t
y
,

also
conclude
s

that fish
can

feel pain

based on her
research findings that fish

has at least 58 pain receptors along the lips
;

f
ish
responds to pain
by

display
ing

abnormal

behavior such as shaking

or

twisting
its

bod
y
;

it's

not just a simple reflex
.

Janicke Nordgreen, a doctoral student at the Norwegian School of
Veterinary,
through

her studies of
salmon, gold fish and rainbow trout,

she
observed

that
fish

are
capable of conscious perceptions such as fear,
wariness and anxiety
;

the

anticipat
ion of

pain

is

just like
vertebrate

animals
-
a

sharp
contrast to the

common misconception that
fish
's

respon
se

to pain is only a reflex.


In other words,

we can no longer pretend that

t
here
are
no
ethical consequences from fishing
-
either

for

recreational

(catch and
release)

or commercial purposes
.


In April 20
10
, Oxford University Press published a book
Do Fish Feel
P
ain

by Dr. Victoria Braithwaite, a renowned biologist
. The book

presents
ample
new eviden
c
e
that
challenges the stereotyped view that fish are not sentient
and have no brain

or feelings
.

On the contr
ary,

Dr. Braithwaite proclaimed
that
fish are far smarter and cognitively competent

and have nerve fibers to
detect tissue injury. Like birds and mammals, fish

can suffer
from stress,

6


discomfort and
pain
, physiologically
and psychologically
.

(
so as lobst
er,
crab and shellfish
, please be kind
)
.



Fish
express

pain by convulsive movements such as flapping, thrashing and
gasping.
The sight of buckets of fish piled on the deck

left to

suffocat
e

is a

sure sign of suffering.

In the case of
G.E.

salmon,
t
he
chaotic
hormonal
effects
on the fish's internal
system

put

great
stress

on their bodies
.

Salmon
belong
s

to the
vast
open sea, not
to
be

subjected

to a debilitating

existence.


An

Amazing Journey


The life of salmon is one of the most amazing wonder of nat
ure
,
adult
salmon

migrat
e

from
their

birth place
,

creeks or river
s
,

and

follow
the
down

streams into

the open sea
.

D
uring migration
,
their
bod
ies
undergo changes
to
a
dap
t

from fresh water to sea water
.
The

salmon

spend years in the
ocean

but

e
ventually

must

make

the

home bound

journey
. They

swim

against the current
s

to

return to

the exact river where they were born
; they
often travel as far as one

thousand mile, a

treacherous

journey
,

as
salmon
must jump thru raging waterfalls

and

swim upstream
.

Salmon h
a
ve

long term memories
,
they
remember the smell of the river of
their birthplace.
B
oth
the
male and fe
male w
ould

fast during the
difficult
journey
. Their home coming also means
t
he

complet
ion of

the
ir

cycle of

7


birth and death
.
At the birth place, the male
protect the eggs until the
female died
. T
hey lie still

in
the
water
and die

while the next generation
of
salmon
is coming into
being
.
This rite of procreation

and

self
-
sacrifice, by
making room
and food
for their offspring
with a

voluntary

death, makes th
e
salmon
a saintly animal
!




The salmon's journey reflects the inner working of mother
n
ature
. A
ll
animals can
smell and
hear
Nature's

calling
,
t
he bees and flowers, the
seasons and migrating birds and the salmon's upstream journey
to
comple
te their evolutionary mission
, they
all
co
-
exist

in
unison; f
r
om
forests to volcanoes
,
rivers to sky,
insects to salmon,
each tune
s

into
a

bio
-
synchronicity

e
xcept the homo sapiens.

A
Lonely and
S
elf
-
A
lienated
S
pe
c
ies

Compare to
a
salmon
's memory
, humans
seem to have lost their
s
-

the
original habitat and
the purpose of an earth

journey
. Instead, we

have

violate
d

the natural
law

by
relying on

destructive
technologies

and
unsustainable
economic policies (based on greed and
aggressive
consumerism)
, and
by
m
essing the genes of plants and animals. We have
become a

transitional
species

moving from its organic habitat to

a virtual
reality
; a

self
-
alienated
animal

takes
pride in

re
-
order
ing

the

nature
of

things.



Like an unruly child
,

we

p
ush

n
ature
'
s movable
bodies (the wild animals
)

out of sight

and
domesticate

animals

for food

including

artificially altered
ones
.

I
n turn,
humans

have become a

useless species

and must
creat
e

its
own laws and values outside

the
working order of
a

bio
-
system
.

Just
l
ike
the la
b invented

salmon
,

we ourselves have become a hybrid between
an
animal and

a

machine

dependent
creature.

What is
O
ur
R
elations to Nature

?

Genetic technology invents sick animals by
violating
the rule of life
:

the
bio
-
logic
.

The beauty of nature has been the inspiration for poets and artists,
can we appreciate the wonderful sights of wild animals, at the same time
support an ill science that can destroy such wonder?


8


Our bio
-
centric

relations with mother nature have been repla
ced by a
human centered
view with

the pursue of economic
interests. Is it

because
we have lost
the

early memories

of our ancestors
, a time when human apes
were a continuum of fellow animal beings
?

Instead, we
created a hostile
demarcation between us

and t
hem
.

But is this feasible? A
ll s
pecies and their
habitats are inseparable, both are
an

integral part of a larger community
,

h
umans are no exception. The

journey of wild salmon can
serve

a
s a

reminder
of

our own

deep past
.


What is
The Purpose of Human Evol
ution
?


Our unique ability to create and
to
reason

is part of the
higher
function of
our

new brain, which sits
right above

an older one
, the reptilian brain. The
neo
-
cortex carries a
speci
fic

evolutionary
mission
, that is to

develop moral
intelligence and sensibility

as well as
to monitor
and quell
the old reptilian
instinct
,
the
will to power
.

Without being guided by a moral intelligence
,
the human ape

will resort to
its predatory

mind

obsessed with domination
(as we can cle
arly see in the history of wars

and current environmental
crisis
)
,

a mentality of
"
mi
ght is right
"

capable of destroying

its own
benefactor, the mother earth.

This
explains

my rational
e

that humans

have
no choice but
must

evolve

further, morally and spirit
ually
for the sake of
our
own
survival and
that of
the planet
.

A
nimal

and environmental

protection
are

human protection.


When human interest clashes with that of the environment

and
non
-
human
animals
, the conflict must be resolved
according

to an

E
arth
E
thics

since

N
ature is independent
of our

valu
e judgment.
Valuing
means

the ordering
of one's priority

based on

ethic
al consideration

(do no harm to others)

and

to inform

one's

decision making.

In short, every
action we take

reflects

a moral

choice.


H
umans

should

observe

natur
e's

criterion

as bas
is

for

valu
ing
;

a criterion requires a
l
l
species
to behave in

a reciprocal manner
.

Although

most people

would like
to think that humans are the supreme, and would argue from a utilitarian
interest
,
but
we
simply can't afford an environmental outage!


9


T
he acquiring of a new brain during human evolution is not just for
inventing tools
or

machines, it gives us the ability to reason and to care
, a

mind can

discriminate between

right and wrong (
al
though

the

defin
ition of
absolute right or wrong
has been
a debat
e

among contemporary
philosophers, but
inflicting suffering on

a sentient being is obviously
wrong), between justice and slavery, kindness and brutality, selfishness and
altruism, cooperation and domination
.

M
ost of all, the purpose of human
intelligence is to recognize our humble place within the grand scheme of
things
.

I truly
think

this

is

the

meaning of

human evolution
:

To evolve f
rom
a tree dwelling primate

in
to an upright walking ape

and

further evolve

in
to
a morally autonomous being
, a process of
overcoming

our base nature
.

A
s

for the greedy agribusiness, they need
a change of heart.

Further Reading:

1.

The Frankenstein Thing: The moral impact of genetic engineering of
agriculture animals in society
and future science.

By B.E Rollin
, professor
of philosophy, animal science and biomedical science.

2.
Ethical Issues in Biotechnology
. Edited by Richard Sherlock and John D.
Morrey