GM chicken will not prevent spread of bird flu

14 January 2011

It was widely reported in press (14th January) that a group of British scientists have developed, 'a way of curbing the spread of avian flu with the help of genetically modified chickens that do not spread the virus.'

In a statement released to the media, Compassion in World Farming strongly opposed genetic modification of chickens and stated their belief that this is just a quick techno-fix for a problem which already has a clear solution - to end factory farming.

Philip Lymbery, Chief Executive of Compassion in World Farming, said:

"Factory farming is a breeding ground for many types of dangerous diseases, including avian flu. With chickens kept crowded together, an outbreak of bird flu can spread rapidly from bird to bird. These conditions also provide the perfect breeding ground for dangerous new strains of the disease to develop.

"Chickens bred for intensive production and kept in crowded and stressful conditions, also have less natural resistance to infection. The risk of the spread of bird flu would be greatly reduced by keeping chickens in smaller, less crowded groups and through using breeds that have a naturally higher resistance.

"In short we should be treating the cause of these disease threats, not just the symptoms."

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