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Genome editing and farmed animals: Social and ethical issues

Genome editing and farmed animals: Social and ethical issues

This report from the Nuffield Council on Bioethics examines the social and ethical issues that could arise from applying genome editing to farmed animals. While genome editing could help address some food systems challenges, for example by giving animals greater resistance to some diseases, it also may lead to less attention being paid to animal welfare.

The report sets out recommendations to the UK government and other stakeholders, including:

  • Before revising the current regulations around genetic modification of animals, conduct a thorough review to identify potential wider effects on the food system.
  • Public views should inform the development of regulation of genome editing as applied to livestock.
  • Commercial breeders of farmed animals should adopt a recognised set of breeding standards.
  • Explore incentives for responsible animal breeding.
  • Use a traffic light system to assess potential impacts of breeding programmes on animal welfare.

Read the full report, Genome editing and farmed animal breeding: social and ethical issues, here. See also the TABLE explainer What is animal welfare?

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