Q8: Are Genetically Engineered Salmon and other animals going to be on the market as food?
A8: Burl, our burlap pig mascot, is the button on the FAQ page for this question. He’s dressed up as a GMO here. Ok- he’s actually just decorated for Christmas. But when you think of GMO salmon, we hope you’ll think about Burl and his real brothers. They’re in danger too.
We are still having to fight the FDA and AquaBounty’s Genetically Violated Lifeform, the GE Salmon we commonly refer to as Frankenfish.FDA has said if approved, they don't have to be labeled because like all GMOs they still insist they are no different than natural life. Here's the history and where we are today:
AquaBounty began in 2000, and expected to release the fish in 2002. They were not approved.
Aug 25, 2010, the FDA announced it was beginning the “approval process” for the fish
..as opposed to the “consideration process” or “review process.”… Many of us feel that this tactic of “pushing through” or “fast-tracking” that is now the norm for the FDA intentionally keeps the public in the dark until the deed is done. It’s getting overt enough that the general public is becoming savvy to this standard practice of theirs, where it once was thought to be some kind of conspiracy theory. The GE phish is raising awareness and creating outrage. As Rick North said to me, this GMO looks back at you.
On 9/19, the FDA panel determined that there was not enough evidence that the fish was safe for people or the environment. Because the farmed fish industry has proven untrustworthy for this responsibility of keeping their fish out of the wild, any safety assessment has to consider the effect on natural habitat and creatures.
So it started out that the FDA sat on the science for 10 years but then gave 2 weeks notice for any group to make a case against the salmon. You had to write to them, tell them what you were going to say and then come to what was scheduled to be a 4-hour hearing that would take place in Washington DC. It’s hard to get a flight that quickly, let alone prepare an entire case against the science. To make matters worse, despite the preposterous claim that this fish is the same as a natural fish for all intents and purposes, the FDA created a new classification of “animal drug.” That translates to “you can’t see our research.”
You can’t have it both ways. The fact that GMO plants are patented but unlabeled is the same contradiction. The industry and the FDA call GMOs the same when its convenient to not investigate potential problems or label the phood, and they call them different when we say life should not be patented or ask to see the research that was done. We're not anti-FDA. We want them to see this grievous error and fix it- and if they don't do it themselves, we have governing bodies that can make it happen. Eventually the public is going to get so angry that they will insist. That day is coming pretty soon I think. There are still good people in the FDA and plenty that have been let go that could potentially return, and new folks waiting in the wings. The Old Boys need to be shown the door. Let them go work (or go back to work) for the biotech companies directly.
Some of you joined us via Facebook when the Center for Food Safety gave us a chance to send our comments to them to take to Washington on our behalf. We crashed their party. Immediately after the hearing they went on to discuss whether labeling would be mandatory if they approved it! Seriously? If you went to trial and the jury had not gone out to decide if you were innocent or guilty yet, would you want them to first contemplate what your sentence would be just in case they found you guilty? Of course not. This was completely inappropriate. It fits with the “approval process” mentality.
Now they made a real comment period. Now we had until November 22nd 2010. But 60 days felt pretty short. For example, we personally handed out Postcards for the Center for Food Safety at the Tigard farmers market and at Food Front Cooperative Grocery’s table they set up for us to do. We had to print some of these cards ourselves while waiting for the CFS cards. We gave out 30 each sitting easily- but we only had 3 chances to do this. Had we had more time, we could have given some of these cards to other people to distribute- people like you who read our website- even if we had to mail them at our expense. Its not so much that 60 days was too short- it was that after 10 years of having the information they initially gave action groups only 2 weeks to review it, holding back evidence. This campaign by the Center for Food Safety should have had several months so that the public could hear about it and have a chance to decide for themselves. Most of the people we met at the farmers markets didn’t know about the fish.
But still, in that time period we made for ourselves by the first wave of responses prior to the hearing, the FDA received hundreds of thousands of letters. The result was that the public made them slow down. 3
Meanwhile, these disturbing documents were uncovered with FOIA.5 They show that the FDA was shutting out all the scientists that said the fish were an environmental hazard. It wasn’t just that they were letting AquaBounty have a special secret category of Animal Drug to hide their bad science behind. They attempted to not disclose their own internal and inter-agency discussions wherever objections were raised.
"Q: What kinds of GE animals are being developed? A: Many kinds of GE animals are in development"
In fact, the very next agenda item is the GE Pig. It’s called the EnviroPig and the idea is that it won’t emit as much environmentally harmful gas and waste. But you know that environmental harm is caused by factory farms- and the real reason they want this pig is because you can cram even more into a small space. This is the World’s most intelligent animal we call livestock. They are smarter than dogs. They are emotionally sensitive. This is why we are so adamant about buying humanely raised animals- and why I have a burlap pig mascot sitting on the desk I work from. We can’t let this happen to these or any other creatures. GMO animals including pigs are already being created- full of deformities as the companies play with their genome. We know GE animals come out deformed- otherwise why did AquaBounty use a sample size of 6 GE fish which were hand picked- not chosen at random, out of a batch of 200? These were the 6 they used to show there weren't deformities. In science, if you only have 200 fish to begin with, you don't need to pick a subset- you test them all. But if for some reason you did need a smaller set of subjects, they are randomized! This isn't science and these aren't scientists. We even have studies that admit companies have removed genetically defective animals from the samples before assessing if there were resulting genetically defective animals! This is the "industry standard" for the "studies" they voluntarily submit to the FDA that the FDA doesn't verify or even require. If you want to read about how tragic this really is that pigs are next, we have links on the meats guide where we discuss insisting on literally happy pigs. Yes, we turn around and eat them. Not all of you do. But these pigs we get have happy long lives. Did you know pigs can be pessimistic from depression? Demoralized to where they won’t react to pain anymore? That happy pigs on good farms have complex and fulfilling social lives! Its all there in those articles we link to.
No- we will not let this gate open. I don’t care how much the FDA has promised industry and how much they have invested in seeing this happen. While we try are fighting in court to stop the alfalfa, sugar beets, and soon wheat- and as we try to turn the tables away from GE canola, soy and corn back to natural life, we are not going to let them release their violated animals into our food supply guaranteeing mass suffering. More and more people are seeing this is morally and/or spiritually a great sin and will Never eat such a thing. We're sorry to say the fight isn’t over. Until we get the FDA turned over and cleaned out of industry infiltrators and let the civil servants who were removed come back to work, there will be a relentless, continuous attempt to get the GMO animals into our food -and if they succeed even once, we’re in trouble. That is why the whole biotech industry, some companies that only deal in seeds, are rallying behind AquaBounty because this is a gateway to get rid of the last pretenses of regulation. So if you haven’t been involved already, please step up with us- and for those of you that have already given your two cents or even campaigned, thank you and thanks in advance for keeping it up. AquaBounty says its hoping to release the phish early in 2011. We’ve got one word for them.