It is reported that scientists have created pigs that are immune to one of the world's costliest livestock diseases. The team of scientists has edited the animals' DNA to make them resistant to the respiratory disease PRRS.
Whilst this may be a scientific breakthrough, understandably consumers have always been very reluctant to eat genetically altered animals which could pose a barrier to those farmers owning gene edited pigs.
Because gene editing is a relatively new issue, the absence of regulation prevents their sale at present in any event. The break through is also attracting some criticism from an animal welfare perspective. Critics consider that creating disease resistant animals could discourage some farmers from improving the welfare of their livestock on the basis that some people think the way the animals are kept can make them less prone to contracting the virus causing PRRS.
It is an interesting debate that raises many issues from animal welfare to consumer concerns.
"First and foremost we need a broader conversation on the acceptability of gene-edited meat entering our food chain, to help inform political leaders on how these techniques should be regulated"