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USDA to Fund Controversial Genetically Modified Salmon

GMO Salmon

As we have learned more about global climate change, environmental degradation and resource depletion, the environment has become a bigger part of the proverbial conversation in the general public.

Most people now believe in human caused climate change, and there are a growing number of folks who are willing to vote with their dollars – spending money (a vital way to make a statement in a capitalist economy) on products and services that are more environmentally friendly and sustainable.

Consumers are shopping more locally,Β driving hybrid cars, installing solar panels on their roofsΒ and more. While the public seems to be making strides in the right direction, the government seems to be slow in catching up, even going against public opinion in some cases.

The GMO Controversy

Genetically modified foods have been controversial from their introduction. Many people are uncomfortable with the possibility of negative environmental and health implications. Nature is not containable, and it has been shown that one cannot keep it in a box. Genetically modified foods have the ability to intermix with native and traditional flora and fauna, threatening the biodiversity of the landscape.

One area that has received a large amount of public scrutiny is genetically modified factory farmed fish such as salmon.Β The majority of the public seems to be opposed to genetically modified organisms, particularly organisms like fish who can escape into the open water and interbreed with native salmon. The USDA has chosen to go against the grain here and fund something that the people are opposed to.

USDA to Fund Genetically Modified Salmon

USDA recently announced that it was going to provide a half a million dollars in funding for a company called AquaBounty, who are pursuing research on how to “invent” genetically modified salmon that are sterile, so they won’t have the ability to interbreed with the native species.

The USDA is not only going against the wishes of the public on this one but had to fight a Congress that isn’t fond of genetically modified organisms as well – for good reason as there is an increased risk of environmental contamination with each GM crop or creature introduced.

While as a society we seem to be moving forward, this funding from the USDA shows that not all governmental bodies are acting in the interests of the public. There is good cause for concern as biodiversity is the very thing that allows our planet to thrive with life.

Genetically modified organisms have been shown to intermix with the natural environment, which has the potential to alter our environment in a drastically negative way.

Want to get heard? Tell the USDA that we want labels on genetically modified foods, so that consumers can continue to vote with our wallets.

Image Credit: Creative Commons photo by SeattleMama on Flickr

One comment
  1. GH

    That whole thing is just a big plot to make money. They’re profiting off the rest of us. They don’t have any science for their point, but there are hundreds of scientists opposing it, but they’re being silenced, and yet, they’re forcing policy that supports their point, all based on lies of corrupt politicians trying to get rich. Yep, climate change is a big scam.

    Hm, did you think I was taking about genetic engineering? Funny how the same bad argument can sound so different when applied to another subject, isn’t it? I just think its funny you mentioned climate change, because the arguments against them are very similar, and they’re often just as wrong, and for many of the same reasons. Neither subject is controversial scientifically, only politically and popularly, which isn’t to say there aren’t individual issues in either one that are legitimately issues up for rational discussion (and knowing more about plants than fish I can’t say for certain if this particular genetically engineered fish is one of them, although I can say the arguments I see rarely constitute a rational objection and are often little more than the standard FUD about every GE crop), but not so when taken as a whole.

    I doubt the objections from congress had much to do with science, and everything to do with protecting local fishers from competition. If someone with, say, oil interests did the same to a project to protect one of their sources of donation money, would you feel the same way? I’m not a big fan of USDA money going to private companies, but lets not pretend this is another conspiracy. Hey, you know who else does that? What if: lets say that the notion that human activities influence climate becomes very unpopular. What should we do? Say ‘Well, most people don’t agree with this concept, so lets ignore it’ or look at the data critically and do what’s right, even if people say things like , for example, it ‘shows that not all governmental bodies are acting in the interests of the public’? What if genetic engineering finds itself in the same situation?

    And outside of science, can you think of anything else that many people are opposed to? Should these things then be banned?

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