The Guardian has reported that an American company has been granted permission by the Canadian government to export up to 100,000 GM fish eggs a year from Canada to the Panamanian rainforest. The company is increasing its production in anticipation of the American authorities approving GM salmon for human consumption.
The salmon have been genetically engineered to grow twice as fast as they would naturally. Accelerated growth in fish can cause harmful deformities such as difficulties breathing and feeding, reduced swimming abilities and a lower tolerance to disease.
Additionally, fish that escape from fish farms have been shown to have a detrimental impact on wild fish stocks. The consequences of GM salmon coming into contact with wild salmon could be disastrous.
Compassion is opposed to using GM animals as the production techniques used can cause suffering to animals. During current production techniques, some GM animals do not survive. Of those that do survive, only a small proportion will have the intended genetic modification.
Furthermore, the genetic modifications desired, for example disease resistance, could be achieved by adopting higher welfare farming practices.
Currently no GM animals are being used on European farms. However due to GM animals being developed elsewhere, Compassion is calling on the European Commission to propose an EU-wide ban on using GM animals and their offspring for food.