Animal Pharm

Kim and I watched a disturbing documentary on Tuesday night that screened on ABC1. It was Animal Pharm, which highlighted the wonderful world of selective breeding and genetic engineering. If you are really interested, the next episode screens on Tuesday 10th June @ 8:35 pm.

You were led through an imaginary farm that had real examples of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO), selectively bred offspring, and cloned animals. From the Belgium Blue cow which looked like the bovine equivalent of Mr Universe, to the featherless chicken engineered to keep cool in the tropics and reduce production time by not having to pluck the feathers off, to the super salmon that had a gene removed to make it grow in all water temperatures, and the glow in the dark rabbits that have a jellyfish gene inserted into their root DNA (I couldn’t remember why you would want a glow-in-the-dark bunny), cloned cattle and sheep that all have the same genetic make up, pigs that absorb phosphorous in their diet (however real pigs do), and GM golden rice that contains Vitamin A from mouse bacteria. All in all, a human made freak show showing the beauty of these Frankensteins, with little consideration to the ramifications of letting GMO loose on the world.

While it is all well and good to tell people about these futuristic breakthroughs, at the beginning of the show, the presenter mentioned that it was going to have a balanced view. They attempted to do this by having a scientist, Dr Olivia Judson (pictured with the featherless rooster) describe the benefits of GMO and a journalist and food critic, Giles Coren argue the dangers. The main problem with the format was that the scientist domineered the entire programme and the journalist looked weak. Maybe it was their personalities, but it came across as just plain wrong to me. The GMO point of view was touted as the brave new world, which I personally think, it is not. If GMO gets released into the general farming community, then cross pollination will occur with both flora and fauna, with the natural state of thing thrown out of balance. And therefore, goodbye organic farming. I like organic farming! It is as nature intended. I am a firm believer in organic food, and if you want to learn more on the subject have a look at the Diggers Club site, who are big advocates of organics and very anti-GMO.

Why can’t we humans just leave well enough alone! Very few of us, it seams, learn from our past mistakes. I will leave you with my quote for the day which sums it all up;

“There is nothing to be learned from history anymore, We’re in science fiction now.
– Allen Ginsberg”


  1. says

    Thankyou for your oh so true comments. I am looking forward to the second part tomorrow night to see what other Frankenstein monsters they come up with. The most unbalanced view since Al Gore showed the slide in An Inconvenient Truth of the gold bars on one side of the scales and the world on the other! Complete and utter rubbish.

  2. says

    It sounds like the problem is that they got a scientist to argue with a journo, instead of (shock horror) another scientist! Scientists don’t all agree unilaterally on genetic engineering and it shouldn’t be presented that way.

  3. Julie says

    I couldn’t bring myself to watch it either – you’re a brave man, Gavin, for sticking it out. I was just staring at those poor chickens without any feathers. Chickens are often seen pecking about in tropical countries with no problems. They’re just deluding themselves that it’s for the chickens’ benefit, the real reason is their “speeds up production” one.

    I wonder who paid for this documentary to be made…

  4. says

    After 30 seconds of that show I turned it off. I can’t believe it – where have these people been?? Can’t they see we have past the need for this type of thing? It is because of these things that we are in the pickle we are in already! Natural is the only sure way to go and you and I know it’s not that hard, actually, and it is a lot more satisfying…or it would be if only it would rain !!!

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