Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Demand for regulation on genetic modification of animals

New Delhi, Mar 5 (UNI) In an era of genetic engineering when animals are cloned to augment agribusiness, animal lovers are feeling an urgent need to regulate the application of biotechnology to farm animals.

Humane Society International (HSI), an animal welfare organisation, has written to the Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC) of Ministry of Environment and Forest, urging it to frame such regulations to protecting animal rights.

''The lack of regulatory or legal constraints on what can be done to farm animals in pursuit of increasing agricultural output, raises additional concerns about genetic engineering or cloning farm animals. The present regulations on the application of biotechnology to farm animals are inadequate,'' HSI's campaign manager in India, N G Jayasimha told UNI.

These experiments are done to propagate certain traits useful to agribusiness, such as meat yielding or feed conversion. ''These technologies have already been shown to have serious adverse impacts on animal welfare,'' he said.

Guidelines on the Regulation of Scientific Experiments on Animals issued by the Committee for the Purpose of Control and Supervision of Experiments on Animals (CPCSEA) do not cover experimentation on animals in agricultural production, the
letter stated.

Mr Jayasimha informed that HSI, based in Pune, is also in the process of drafting certain regulations in this regard which they would like to submit to the committee.
''Our endeavour will be to draft the regulations to comply with international humane standards and be effective in Indian conditions,'' he said.

The regulations would ensure that the breeding goals are redefined to reflect social concerns, he asserted hoping to have a proper regulatory mechanism having diverse representation.

According to statistics available, the country has no regulations for animal cloning currently. The Department of Biotechnology only regulates human stem cell research, and transgenic research, where traits of different species are mixed.

Reportedly, scientists of the National Dairy Research Institute (NDRI) say they are involved only in ''pure cloning'' for which they have been given the nod by the Agriculture Ministry. But they admit that transgenic research is the future,
though they will not start transgenic research without approval from the Department of Biotechnology.


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