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Across the UK, as you read this, millions of farmed animals may be suffering because they’ve been bred to grow too fast, give birth to too many offspring, or produce too much milk.
And, now, the Government wants to permit gene editing: a technique that could speed up these ‘natural’ breeding processes. Please urge your MP to speak out on the risks to animal welfare in the Genetic Technology (Precision Breeding) Bill..
Fit for factory farms?
This new Bill will initially make it easier to gene-edit crops and animal feed. But it will also allow the Government to later introduce precision breeding of animals, by changing existing regulations, without a new vote in Parliament.
Meanwhile, selective breeding for fast growth or high yields already leads to acute suffering for farmed animals:
- Many chickens suffer from leg disorders or cardiovascular diseases.
- Sows in intensive farms may have such large litters that piglets can be at risk of starvation, and feeding so many offspring places excessive demands on the mother.
- Laying hens have been bred to produce so many eggs that they’re often vulnerable to osteoporosis and bone fractures.
- And many dairy cows have been pushed to such high milk yields that they’re exhausted and prematurely slaughtered at just three or four years old.
Without the right rules in force, gene editing could make these problems even worse. And it could also be used to make animals ‘fit’ for stressful, crowded conditions – exacerbating factory farm cruelty.
Yet, the Precision Breeding Bill is making its way through Parliament without proper, independent safeguards for animal welfare first having been put in place. This is simply unacceptable.
Please take action now. Ask your MP to help ensure gene editing isn’t allowed to perpetuate inhumane, unethical intensive farming practices. Email now