Regulations Ignore Animal Welfare

Regulations Ignore Animal Welfare

Tell FDA You care!

Deadline to comment is July 31

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is in the process of finalizing regulations on the use of intentional genomic alternations (IGA) in animals for food and medical biologics. IGA is a broader term that the FDA has recently adopted that includes genetic engineering (GE) as well as other methods of changing an animal’s genome. Their use puts animal health and welfare at risk and can lead to suffering from unintended effects.

Your voice is needed to urge the FDA to make animal welfare a priority in regulating this gross misuse of biotechnology!

Although falling under the FDA, the welfare of GE animals faced a serious threat when the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) tried to wrangle this regulatory authority under its own purview in January 2021, just prior to a change in administrations. This would have opened the door to an agriculture industry-friendly approval process of GE animals used for food, allowing the misuse of biotechnology to maximize profits, bringing even more cruelty to an impossibly cruel system of intensive animal food production. AAVS joined a dozen other concerned stakeholders, including food safety, environmental, and consumer protection groups, to encourage the FDA to maintain its regulatory authority.

While the FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine has better expertise to exercise regulatory authority on the use of IGAs in animals, the situation is far from ideal. FDA has failed to provide safeguards to protect the welfare of animals used in biotechnology in its previous guidance and regulations.

AAVS outlined the many problems and concerns associated with genetic engineering in “Animal Welfare for Sale: Genetic Engineering, Animal Welfare, Ethics, and Regulation” in response to the FDA’s original draft guidance on the use of GE animals in 2008. It reports on this unpredictable technology that often results in unanticipated, harmful conditions that cause severe animal suffering, and that some IGAs are developed just so animals can better tolerate inhumane conditions on factory farms.

While there is evidence that animals who have been genetically altered suffer because of an IGA, there is little documentation of the long-term health and wellbeing effects. Additionally, there’s an unknown number of animals who are used in experiments to develop IGAs.

The FDA cannot continue to fail to acknowledge public concern over the importance of protecting animal welfare in its regulations. Any IGA guidance or regulation that does not explicitly include strong and meaningful animal protections is incomplete because it ignores the most affected players in the process: the animals. Although the FDA claims that animal health is addressed in its new IGA guidance and regulations, this does not equate to protecting the welfare of animals exploited in this industry.

Demand that the FDA listen to the public and place more importance on protecting animal welfare in its regulations concerning the use of IGAs in animals. Take action today!

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