There is more trouble brewing on the farm front. This time it is going to hit you too. Scientists at the University of Guelph in Canada claim to have developed a genetically modified pig, very cleverly named as "Enviropig", which actually has been designed to reduce the cost of production for the industrial pig farms.
BBC explains: "Ordinarily, pigs cannot easily digest chemicals called phosphates. That means that the stuff that comes out of the back end can be toxic and damaging to the environment. The phosphates are easily washed into waterways, where they can produce a hugely fertile environment for plants. But the plants grow so rapidly that they choke the stream or river and cause huge damage to the ecosystem.
The genetic modification enables these pigs to digest phosphates, which means they are less polluting and cheaper to feed."
Basically, what it means is that scientists have ensured that GM pigs excrete less phosphorous in their feces. Two genes have been inserted into the pig genome for the purpose. One is from mice and other from E.coli bacteria. [Read the full BBC report at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-12113859]
Although it is too early to predict whether the Canadian government regulators will approve the GM pig for human consumption, but knowing the way the regulatory system works worldwide and for that matter in Canada, it may be much sooner than you probably would expect. After all, the multi-million dollar hog industry needs it.
Excess phosphorous is a problem of the industrial pig farms wherein thousands of pigs are reared. So on the first hand you create a problem, and then you ask scientists to solve the problem, and in turn create hitherto unknown problems for the environment and the consumers. This is how modern science progresses. In the name of constructive application of science, it actually ends up creating more destruction in the long run.
Like Lucy Sharratt of the Canadian Biotechnology Action Network, I too am worried. I think you too should be worried if you want your children to remain healthy, wealthy and wise.
Already, if you are living in North America, you probably don't even realise that you are part of the sickest society in the rich industrialised world. More people die every year from eating food in the US for instance than anywhere else in the OECD countries. Living in times of a fast food culture, US population has been quietly been turned addictive to junk foods and carbonated drinks. The result: over 400,000 people die every year from obesity and related ailments, all resulting from contaminated foods.
Although the GM food industry has ensured that the regulatory system does not study the health impacts in a manner that can bring out the flaws, there is no evidence which shows that the stupendous rise in allergies, dementia, obesity, diabetes, heart-attacks, cancer, and you name it, is not linked to genetic modification. In fact, in the absence of a medical protocol or a medical assay you will never know if an alien gene in your food is responsible for the ailment/disease you carry.
The rise in child obesity has already made Michelle Obama launch a campaign against junk foods.
To know more about why you need to be worried, and how scientists have worked to address the problem being encountered by the pig industry, which essentially is aimed at escaping the tough environmental regulations, I suggest you read this report: 'Genetically Engineering Pigs to Support Industrial Hog Production' [available at http://bit.ly/f6iffL]. Also, here is another interesting analysis, entitled: Why the Enviropig is Full of Shit [http://bit.ly/hPgSJy].