Okay, so I will admit it. I watch the National Geographic Chanel, sometimes, and last night a show caught my attention it was called, Extreme Genes, here is the show description:
“Rabbits that glow in the dark, custom-grown human livers and mice that regenerate: the creations of modern genetics are far from ordinary. Follow along as Extreme Genes takes you inside an amazing world of engineering, biotechnology, robotics and regenerative medicines. Here, scientists test the limits of nature every day as they work to genetically engineer plants and animals that will improve our world.”
Here’s a picture of a chicken created in a laboratory:
He’s pretty cute, huh? They rationalize creating such a bird by saying,
“Featherless chickens could be the future of mass poultry farming in warmer countries, says an Israeli geneticist who has created a bare-skinned “prototype”. The new chicken would be lower in calories, faster-growing, environmentally friendly, and more likely to survive in warmer conditions, claims Avigdor Cahaner of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He created his red-skinned chicken by selectively crossing a breed with a naturally bare neck with a regular broiler chicken.”
I guess as long as it’s lower in calories the US will jump on board. Oh, and how do you make a chicken environmentally friendly? The other benefits would be found in mass production, because it would save on plucking, which uses a lot of water and because broilers are bred so big now they generate a lot of heat which creates the need for air conditioning to cool them down, their lack of feathers saves on electricity! Chicken farmers think that feathers are a waste! It was also mentioned that these chickens would be great for developing countries because they can be still be gigantic without over heating in the sun. But they say that featherless chickens suffer more than their non-mutant counter parts, they get sunburn, the males can’t mate because the can’t flap their wings and they are more susceptible to parasites and mosquito bites.
“The chicken is “disgusting”, says Joyce D’Silva of Compassion in World Farming. “It’s a prime example of sick science and the suggestion that it would be an improvement for developing countries is obscene. Factory farming is such an inappropriate technology for developing countries because it uses scarce resources like water, electricity and grain that could be used for human consumption, to produce meat that only the middle classes can afford.”
The whole premise makes me glad I don’t eat meat. I am not sure these scientists have even considered what happens when humans ingest genetically altered meat of any kind. Chickens are not the only animals being altered, they have created giant cows that weigh up to one ton, giant salmon and they have actually altered the way some pigs shit. Yeah, it seems pig manure produces a by product that is so bad for the environment that when it leeches into the water supply it becomes a hazard, so they have developed pigs who no longer excrete the by product, but instead digest it.
So you tell me, if they can do all these things with animals will humans be next? Using stem cells they can grow livers and skin and even new bone. I am not sure how I feel about that, but I know the mutant animal thing icks me a lot. They are also experimenting with human genes in animals, like cows who they milk for blood to create human antibodies for disease. It’s all fucking fascinating in a science fiction sort of way, but it doesn’t feel right to me. Plus I think if science can do this and show it on TV then what aren’t they showing us? Inquiring minds want to know . . .