This week on our radio program the team of Mannie Barling, Ashley Brooks, and Simon Barrett revisited the subject of the hotly contested Enviropig. A Frankenstein creature engineered in a laboratory that if the patent holders have their way will be arriving in the meat department of your local supermarket soon.

The Envoropig is an interesting Frankencreature created out of an unholy marriage between Hogs and Mice. Yes you heard that right! Take a pig add a dash of Mickey and voilla you have the ideal product. Apparently the dash of Mickey makes the Enviropig a whole lot more efficient in digesting food, and the poo somewhat less toxic. Of course no-one is talking about just how the meat might taste. Mouse is eaten in certain parts of the world, however I for one don’t much care for the obvious fiddly operation that would be involved in stripping the flesh from the bones. I am sure that the flavor of the meat however will be Just Like Chicken. Mouse, the other white meat!

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The Enviropig is just the next in a long list of genetic mutations produced in the lab. The subject of Genetic Modification is one that causes great debate. There are lots of grumbles on the grounds of religious beliefs and the possibility that this is man playing God. I am not of a particular religious bent, but I do see huge ethical and moral dilemma headed our way. It is only a matter of time before these problems start to grumble their way through the court system.

One area of research is using Pigs as surrogates for growing human replacement organs. At what point does the Pig acquire legal rights? Yes it sounds fare fetched, something out of the mind of Sci-fi writers Philip K. Dick or Isaac Asimov, but it will come.

Already we have Bio-tech companies patenting forms of life. Monsanto’s assault on the farming industry is a case in point. The Round-Up Ready seeds for corn, soy, and flax are so prevalent that one could cry MONOPOLY.

Are these products safe? Well that is a very good question, and certainly one that I would like to have answered. The Monsanto products entered the food chain in the early 1990’s. Monsanto has resisted any ‘independent’ studies, preferring instead to conduct their own ‘paid for’ ones. “That is not so!”. I can hear Monsanto already, “our studies are independent ones”. Well, if you class slipping big grants to universities to fund the study ‘independent’, or attacking researchers with threats of loss of tenure for finding results not to their liking, well yes, they are completely independent!

Chimera is a term used in mythology, the forging of two unlikely species together. Alas it is also a reality that is being practiced in labs across the world.

If you missed the original broadcast of Surviving The 21st Century, you can listen to the recording here.

Simon Barrett

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