According to a late June 2010 NY Times article, “The Food and Drug Administration is seriously considering whether to approve the first genetically engineered animal that people would eat — salmon that can grow at twice the normal rate.” And here’s the catch–you might not even know you are buying genetically engineered fish, because currently, as long the product has the same nutritional value as the original product (in this case, real salmon), then they don’t need to label that it is not “real” fish.
Lots of pros and cons here. Pro–the fish would not be gigantic, but rather would grow to normal size faster than the average salmon, thus using less resources to create. Con–the current drug review process for the FDA does not really account for the environmental impacts of genetically altered animals, so there could be many dangers we are overlooking.
Personally, it does not make sense to me to alter an animal’s natural life process in order to better our food supply, because it will come back to bite us in the end, whether it is through genetically altered fish or even simply feeding cows grain instead of grass because it is cheaper and more abundant.
When Americans started feeding cows grains like corn, it was because corn was cheap and plentiful, and it seemed to make the cows grow fatter in a shorter amount of time…sound familiar?
Cows were meant to eat grass, and their stomachs cannot digest grains. So cows in America that were fed grain started getting sick. In order to make sure their investment (cow) lasted long enough for them to make a profit on it, farmers started pumping their cows full of antibiotics, medicines that go directly from the cow to the person that consumes that cow. Their process of grain feeding made the cows sick, but it made the farmers richer quicker, so they further hurt the quality and life of their animals with the antibiotics. Now, grain fed meat may have more fat than grass fed, but it also is less nutritious for you.
With that thought in mind, the idea of genetically altered animals just does not feel like something our country should be focusing on. What do you think? Should genetically altered animals be allowed to be sold in the U.S. market? And if so, should there be mandatory or voluntary labeling law?