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Gene editing and animal suffering

Selective breeding: How gene editing will perpetuate animal suffering

This report from Compassion in World Farming argues that the traditional selective breeding of livestock has led to great suffering for farmed animals, and that gene editing technologies are likely to exacerbate these welfare issues. It describes how traditional breeding has resulted in chickens that grow so quickly they suffer from leg disorders and heart disease, dairy cows that produce so much milk they experience lameness, mastitis and metabolic disorders, and turkeys that are so large they have joint deformations and cannot mate naturally. The report argues that gene editing should only be used in exceptional circumstances where (a) there is no negative impact on animal health and welfare, (b) no less intrusive methods are available and (c) it does not facilitate industrial livestock systems.

Read the full report, Selective breeding: How gene editing will perpetuate animal suffering, here or here (PDF link). See also the TABLE explainer What is animal welfare?

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