Jan 102011

(Scroll down to the articles that make up the “CONTENTS” of this posting.   This first part is badly in need of editing – – sorry.)

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Transgenic means “of, pertaining to, or containing a gene or genes transferred from another species.”   

These transgenic pigs  =  pig genes + E. coli genes + mouse DNA.    The lead researcher doing all this is Cecil Forsberg.

The genetically-modified (GM) (transgenic) pig trade-marked by the University of Guelph, Ontario is real and it is intended to enter the food system.   When?  . .   see item #2.

Backup copy of U of G webpage:    Enviropig, trade-marked by the University of Guelph, Ontario.

The GM pig is an opportunistic response to problems created by industrialized meat production.  It is a seriously wrong response.

Conveniently for the biotech industry, food that contains GMOs does not get labelled as such in Canada or in the U.S. They are required to be labelled in Europe.   In Canada the battle to get labelling of GM food ended in defeat when the industry bought the Consumers Association to come on-side with them.

See item #13, Elizabeth May on “progress traps”.   She mentions the over-production of phosphorous with its consequences for water pollution that comes with industrial-scale hog production (phosphorous – think eutrophication, think Lake Winnipeg, think “dead zones”, for example in the Gulf of Mexico).

I would like to draw to attention that the pigs are also being genetically-engineered because “. . .  they’re not very efficient at digesting the kind of corn and soybeans that make the cheapest livestock feed. As a consequence, their poop is thick with undigested waste products, including phosphorous.”

Remember:  corn and soybeans are two of the largest bioteched crops.  People may remember GM “smartstax” corn:  inserted into it is material related to EIGHT different biocides to produce resistance to various chemical applications for “weeds”, insects, fungi, etc.  Yes, the problems are created because the animals are being fed materials they have not evolved to eat.  The same is happening with cattle in intensive livestock operations, as with pigs.

There is no way of tracking the health impacts of pork produced from “enviro-pigs” with their E. coli and mouse DNA, themselves raised on a diet of GM corn and soy because the Government regulatory system bowed to industry demands to require no labeling.

You think that we have an epidemic of childhood obesity, diabetes and cancer?   Wait until the full effects of the introduction of GM meat are experienced.  But it will be impossible to establish cause-and-effect because the interactions are complex, and because there is no labeling.

“ …  will be probably the most significant transgenic food to be approved. We’re in new territory,” Steven Liss (University of Guelph Vice-President of Research, now moved to a similar position at Queen’s University).

Monsanto has a long-standing and large involvement in the University of Guelph where the pigs are being engineered.  In 2005 Monsanto tried to patent pigs, as preposterous as that may seem (item #2).

CBAN has done a terrific job so far in battling the Canadian Government over “enviro-pig”.  (There is nothing “enviro” about it.  See item #4, the description of the trademark.)

Now CBAN needs help for the final push to stop transgenic pigs.  See item #8,  register resistance with the Minister of Health and get more people to help:

–        Get information to ethnic groups that use a lot of pork.

–        Restaurants that serve pork should receive a heads-up.

–        Food organizations have a particular interest.

–        Health organizations.

–        I wonder if there is organized resistance in the U.S. where (item #7) enviro-pig is being registered?

Letters to elected representatives will not necessarily win the day, although with a minority Government and enough of us joining the CBAN effort, we might be able to do it.

The problem:

·        unelected Government officials in the bureaucracy, many of them with ties to industry AND

·        some scientists and administrators in the Universities

carry the ball for the corporations.  The biotech agenda is carried out covertly.  So we need to make the anonymous people known, they have responsibility.  If they are truly serving the public interest, they will want their names known – – they are our benefactors.

From item #6 (March 2010),  “Steven Liss, associate vice-president of research services of the university (of Guelph) says it’s (enviro-pig) an important milestone and means that other facilities can now start breeding the pigs for research — and hopefully, one day, for more”.  Liss is now the vice-principal (research) at Queen’s University, as mentioned.

See item #15.   I emailed Steven Liss.  I invite you to make your views known to administrators, faculty and students in the universities, especially to universities that have Colleges of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine.

Also from Liss:  “Canada has approved only limited production of the Enviropigs, in controlled research environments. It will be years before meat from genetically engineered pigs could be available for human consumption. “This will be probably the most significant transgenic food to be approved. We’re in new territory,” Steven Liss, a spokesperson for the project, told  (Link no longer valid)  National Geographic.    http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2010/03/100330-bacon-pigs-enviropig-dead-zones/  (Item #14)

Liss is an academic who got his PhD from the University of Saskatchewan.  You may remember theGM Triffid flax fiasco at the University of Saskatchewan that cost tax-payers, farmers and Europeans millions of dollars?   I will get the emails on Triffid from our network posted to this blog as soon as time permits.

IMPORTANT:  The lesson taught by the movie Inside Job  (released Oct 2010, narrated by Matt Damon, subject of  another posting):

  • some players in academia will sell their souls on behalf of industry (i.e. for money)�·        industry works with (buys) some elected officials who make the laws·        the regulators are sometimes just industry people who have been strategically placed in the bureaucracy.·        Other times the regulators simply get overpowered by high-priced industry lawyers.·        There will be repeated warnings from honest people inside and outside the system.·        The people who are profiting from the lack of regulation and the corrupted products KNOW full well what they are doing, but they are completely without conscience.  They lie through their teeth, don’t bat an eye and laugh their way to the bank.·        The warnings go unheeded.

    ·        And then it’s the collapse of the system.  Everything was there to know what was coming.  The financial crisis of 2008 did not have to happen.  It was catastrophic for millions of people and there’s more to come.

    That’s the template.

    And we will pay the price – big time  —  again.  You had best be informed and actively participate with other citizens to see that WE chart the path forward.  There is no room for naivete or “trust” in the system.  It is badly corrupted.  As Jane Jacobs explained in her book “Systems of Survival, A Dialogue on the Ethics of Commerce and Politics”  when you start to mix the corporate sphere with the public interest, you get corruption.

    Our industrial food supply is not health-giving; it is about to get worse with transgenic pigs, unless we do something about it.

    Or, just fight it for the sake of the pigs.  The media does not tell you about the grotesque creatures engineered by the scientists and then thrown on the trash heap.  Pigs that have had human growth genes mixed with their DNA – solid film footage.  Please refer to

  • 2004-11-13  Genetically modified:  documentary “LIFE RUNNING OUT OF CONTROL”.  GM fish and pigs.  Also
  • 2005-02-07  Genetically modified:  “Life Running Out of Control” debuts  (item #2, the interview with Bertram Verhaag).

Together, we can rustle up lots more help for CBAN, just by forwarding information, thinking – – WHO will help?  (it doesn’t take much when there are so many of us).



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(3)   UNIVERISTY OF GUELPH’S WEB PAGE ON “ENVIRO-PIG”  (a registered trademark)







(10)  PATENTING PORKY  (ALIVE MAGAZINE, #281, March 2006)




(14)  National Geographic  March 30, 2010, REPORTING IS ONE-SIDED, UN-CRITICAL


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There is HUGE incentive to pitch in on the CBAN effort to stop the University of Guelph, the Federal Government and the Pork Producers of Ontario from putting genetically-modified pigs on the menu.

The Pork Producers own the trademark on “enviro-pig”.


–        Monsanto’s attempt in 2005 to patent pigs (item #2)

–        knowing how Monsanto works through producer organizations (e.g. Canola Growers Executive bought and paid for)

–        from experience with bovine growth hormone (attempted bribery in Canada, but Monsanto got it registered in the U.S. through their placements of people in the bureaucracy, the buying of politicians, and lobbying)

–        Monsanto’s funding of the Agricultural Colleges in Saskatoon and at Guelph

I think it is possible that Monsanto has a discreet role in the enviro-pig.

Before the call-to-action to join the CBAN effort I like to supply background information, especially for newcomers.

This is related to the “Inside Job” movie on the financial crisis in the U.S. that created repercussions and hardships around the world (posted January 8).   The conditions are the same, it is only the business sector that is different (financial versus biotechnology).  The universities play the same role (service to the corporate interest).  The characteristics are the same –  centralization of money and power in the sector followed by its corrupting influence on democracy and on our institutions like the universities.  And then disaster for the society.

The regulators won’t step in and regulate.  The “influential” people who should know better and do something about the situation are instead content to sell their souls and make money.

In the end, the warnings become the reality.  Who gets left holding the sorry bag?

But it doesn’t have to be.  We have won numerous important victories in the biotech field.  We can win this one.  See item #8.  Mount the steeds!  CBAN leads the way!

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For the January 5th update on GMO’s I forgot that in 2005 Monsanto was trying to register the same patents in a number of countries, all related to pigs.  Greenpeace stumbled onto it; Monsanto’s attempts were thwarted at least for the time being.

2005-08-02  GMO’s  –  Monsanto applies for global pig patent

What is the status of approval for Enviropig?   FROM CBAN:

The University of Guelph is now waiting for Health Canada to approve Enviropig™ for human consumption. According to the University, they submitted an application for approval on April 23, 2009. The application and the process for its evaluation are kept secret by the University and Health Canada so there is no way of knowing when the application could be approved, but it could be granted at any time.

The University also submitted an application for approval to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) which is likely a request to approve Enviropig™ for use in other livestock feed. This is because pigs are rendered to feed to poultry and other animals, as a protein source. The nature of the request to the CFIA is unknown because the agency will neither confirm nor deny that they are assessing a request.

Approval requested in the U.S.

In 2007, the University of Guelph submitted a request for approval of Enviropig™ to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration where it will be assessed as a new drug.

Approval requested in China

The University of Guelph is seeking licensees for Enviropig™, especially in China. In 2008, David Hobson of the University of Guelph, and the Board Chair of Ontario Pork traveled to China to “pursue access to China’s regulatory process and potential partners for commercialization of the Enviropig.”

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(3)   UNIVERISTY OF GUELPH’S WEB PAGE ON “ENVIRO-PIG”  (a registered trademark)

Many thanks to Elaine.



The Enviropig™ is a genetically enhanced line of Yorkshire pigs with the capability of digesting plant phosphorus more efficiently than conventional Yorkshire pigs. These pigs produce the enzyme phytase in the salivary glands that is secreted in the saliva. When cereal grains are consumed, the phytase mixes with the feed as the pig chews. Once the food is swallowed, the phytase enzyme is active in the acidic environment of the stomach, degrading indigestible phytate in the feed that accounts for 50 to 75% of the grain phosphorus.

Figure 1. Phytase produced in the salivary glands and secreted in the saliva increases the digestion of phosphorus contained in feed grains.

Since the Enviropig™ is able to digest cereal grain phosphorus there is no need to supplement the diet with either mineral phosphate or commercially produced phytase, and there is less phosphorus in the manure. When the phosphorus depleted manure is spread on land in areas of intense swine production there is less potential of phosphorus to leach into freshwater ponds, streams and rivers. Because phosphorus is the major nutrient enabling algal growth that is the leading cause of fish kills resulting from anoxic conditions, and reduced water quality, the low phosphorus manure from Enviropigs has a reduced environmental impact in areas where soil phosphorus exceeds desirable levels. Therefore the enviropig biotechnology has two beneficial attributes, it reduces feed cost and reduces the potential of water pollution. Furthermore, the technology is simple, if you know how to raise pigs, you know how to raise Enviropigs!

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Note:  transgenic means of, pertaining to, or containing a gene or genes transferred from another species.

And don’t you love it?! The enviro-pig is related to “Natural agricultural products”!  (Who do these @$#^*  think they’re kidding?  Strip them of their doctoral degrees.)

(Link no longer valid)  http://healthcare.zibb.com/trademark/enviro-pig/29733216

Trademark details

(Trademark owned by Ontario Pork Producers Marketing Board,  (Link no longer valid)  http://www.ontariopork.on.ca/cms/en/AboutUs/aboutus.aspx )

Enviro-Pig® is a registered trademark used for Swine Feed Supplements, Medicated Swine Feed Additives, Vaccines For Swine, Pharmaceutical Preparations For the Treatment of Disease In Swine, and Swine Sperm Swine Eggs For Breeding Purposes, Swine Feed, Non-Medicated Swine Feed Additives, Swine Embryos, and Live Transgenic Swine Wholesale Distributorships Featuring Transgenic Swine, Swine Embryos, Swine Sperm, Swine Eggs, Swine Feed, Pharmaceutical Preparations For the Treatment of Disease In Swine, Vaccines For Swine, Swine Feed Supplements and Medicated and Non-Medicated Swine Feed Additives Animal Breeding and Insemination Services, Namely, Transgenic Swine Breeding, Artificial Insemination of Swine, Implantation of Genetic Material Into Swine, Implantation of Genetic Material Into Swine Eggs, Implantation of Genetic Material Into Swine Sperm, Implantation of Genetic Material Into Swine Embryos, Technical Consultation and Advice Regarding Transgenic Swine Breeding and Transgenic Swine Production, Production of Transgenic Swine, Swine Eggs, Swine Sperm, Swine Embryos, Swine Feed, Swine Feed Supplements and Swine Medicated and Non-Medicated Feed Additives and Pharmaceutical Preparations For Swine To the Order and Specification of Others and owned by Ontario Pork Producers Marketing Board. Full trade mark registration details, registered images and more information below.

View more »

Goods and/or Services: Swine Feed Supplements, Medicated Swine Feed Additives, Vaccines For Swine, Pharmaceutical Preparations For the Treatment of Disease In Swine, and Swine Sperm Swine Eggs For Breeding Purposes, Swine Feed, Non-Medicated Swine Feed Additives, Swine Embryos, and Live Transgenic Swine Wholesale Distributorships Featuring Transgenic Swine, Swine Embryos, Swine Sperm, Swine Eggs, Swine Feed, Pharmaceutical Preparations For the Treatment of Disease In Swine, Vaccines For Swine, Swine Feed Supplements and Medicated and Non-Medicated Swine Feed Additives Animal Breeding and Insemination Services, Namely, Transgenic Swine Breeding, Artificial Insemination of Swine, Implantation of Genetic Material Into Swine, Implantation of Genetic Material Into Swine Eggs, Implantation of Genetic Material Into Swine Sperm, Implantation of Genetic Material Into Swine Embryos, Technical Consultation and Advice Regarding Transgenic Swine Breeding and Transgenic Swine Production, Production of Transgenic Swine, Swine Eggs, Swine Sperm, Swine Embryos, Swine Feed, Swine Feed Supplements and Swine Medicated and Non-Medicated Feed Additives and Pharmaceutical Preparations For Swine To the Order and Specification of Others
Serial Number: 75753719
Registration Number: 2699082
Filing Date: Jul 15, 1999
Last Applicant(s)/
Owner(s) of Record

Ontario Pork Producers Marketing Board

15 Waulron Street
Po Box 740
Etobicoke, Ontario, M9c 5h3 CA

Related Products: Pharmaceuticals, Natural Agricultural Products, Advertising and Business, Miscellaneous Services; Scientific and technological services, and research and design relating thereto; Industrial analysis and research services; Design and development of computer hardware and software; Legal services

As always there is excellent and better information on the CBAN website.  See item #8.

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http://www.dnafiles.org/programs/designing-garden/transcript/297    EXCERPT

JOHN HOCKENBERRY (interviewer) : So far, we’ve been talking about food from genetically modified plants, but what about animals? The U.S. doesn’t have specific regulations for GM animals. You won’t find any GM salmon at the fish counter yet or hamburger at the meat case or bacon either.

Canadian scientist Cecil Forsberg has been working for years to market his ““Enviropig”s.” They would have a tough time getting to market in the U.S., because they’ve been engineered using e-coli. In Canada, GM animals are called “novel foods,” and even there, the ““Enviropig” have been stuck in the pen. The DNA Files producer Brian Mann has the story.

BRIAN MANN: A mile outside of Guelph, Ontario, the tree lined streets give way to fields and stretches of wood. Microbiologist Cecil Forsberg points me down a gravel drive towards what looks like a modern industrial farm.

CECIL FORSBERG: You make a left turn. I’d stay away from the front door where your vehicle can pick up the smell.

BRIAN MANN: It’s a rental. So I don’t mind the smell. [Cecil laughs.]

BRIAN MANN: We park a safe distance away. Despite the wind, there is an odor–cows and mowed grass, but overwhelming it all, the sickly sweet stench of pig manure. Forsberg opens the door to a sprawling barn operated by the University of Guelph. The building is part pigsty, part high tech laboratory. Massive fans churn constantly, maintaining the temperature and easing the odor. Pigs are famous for eating a lot, and it turns out they’re not very efficient at digesting the kind of corn and soybeans that make the cheapest livestock feed. As a consequence, their poop is thick with undigested waste products, including phosphorous. For 11 years, this has been Cecil Forsberg’s obsession.  . . .   read more  http://www.dnafiles.org/programs/designing-garden/transcript/297

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This article elaborates on industry efforts mentioned in the Jan 5th posting, at the Vatican and in Europe to coerce the acceptance of GM foods.

Thanks to Elaine:


US to Vatican: Genetically Modified Food Is a “Moral Imperative”
Mike Ludwig, Truthout: “Secret United States diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks detail efforts to promote genetically modified (GM) crops and biotechnology across the globe, including the Vatican, where US diplomats pushed the Roman Catholic Church to support biotech food in developing nations. Cables from embassies in Spain, Austria and even Pakistan reveal the US diplomats have clearly sided with the biotech industry, even as court cases and public debates over GM food raged in the US and abroad.”
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Also thanks to Elaine:


From:  GE Free B.C.    (GE = Genetically Engineered)

Guelph’s “Enviropig” Satisfies Requirements of EPA

Posted on March 19, 2010

Angela Mulholland, CTV.ca News Date: Saturday Mar. 6, 2010 11:01 AM ET

The Enviropig, a Canadian-designed, genetically-engineered hog, recently edged a little closer to full regulatory approval. But how likely is the pig to ever make it to the dinner tables of Canadians?

Enviropigs are a line of line Yorkshire pigs genetically enhanced to be more environmentally friendly. The porkers, created by researchers at the University of Guelph, have a modified gene that gives them the ability to digest phosphorus in grain more efficiently.

The result? They poop up to 60 per cent less phosphorus into their manure.

That’s a good thing, since the phosphorus in the manure of factory farm animals is known to promote algae growth in water, leading to fish kills and other water problems.

Enviropigs have been under development for well over 10 years, with the aim that they could be one day be sold to commercial hog farmers.

But so far, while the researchers have enjoyed the support of Ontario Pork, a full commercial partner has yet to sign on. And much of the reason for that is the complicated regulatory hurdles of getting the pigs and their meat approved for eating.

One of those hurdles was finally crossed last month, when the University of Guelph announced that it had satisfied the requirements of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, allowing the Enviropig to be produced under strict confinement and control measures.

What that means is that the federal government has determined that the pigs are not toxic to the environment. They are also convinced that the pigs do not pose any other threats to the environment — such as what might happen if the pigs escaped their quarters at the university and integrated themselves into other pig populations. (April here: so what happened to studies on human health? Why do they always miss that?)

Pigs in production? Won’t happen soon

Steven Liss, associate vice-president of research services of the university says it’s an important milestone and means that other facilities can now start breeding the pigs for research — and hopefully, one day, for more.

“This is really the first step in the approval process which, at the end of the day, is intended to get final approval to be able to commercially produce the Enviropig,” he told CTV.ca by phone.

The university has an application into Health Canada, submitted last year, asking the agency to declare the pigs fit for human consumption. Another application to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has been pending for even longer.

The FDA recently released draft guidelines that outline how genetically modified animals will be regulated. Health Canada has not offered any insight into how it might do the same, though it’s expected they will follow the FDA’s lead.

But the wait for those final approvals could be long. Still, Liss says even after more than 10 years, his researchers are not discouraged.

“It’s been a long haul, but that’s partly because really, it’s still early days in the regulatory approval of transgenic animals particularly for commercial production and human consumption,” explains Liss.

“It’s not just checking off the boxes that the government requires, but it’s also about ensuring that regulators can properly address concerns that the public may have.”

The university contends the Enviropig is just a regular pig, like any other in every way except one: it can produce phytase enzymes in its saliva.

That phytase allows the porkers to break down phytate, which is the indigestible phosphorus in the corn, barley and soybeans that hogs on commercial farms are typically fed.

As it works now, hog farmers generally either supplement their animal feed with phytase or add digestible phosphorus. But either option adds costs to the farmer.

So Guelph biotechnologists decided the answer was to change the pig. They took a gene from — of all things — E. coli bacteria. (The bacteria, as it turns out, are great at producing phytase) That gene was attached to a piece of mouse DNA and then introduced into pig embryos and transferred into a sow.

The first phytase-producing pig — dubbed Wayne by the hockey-loving research team — was born in 1999. Thirty more have been born since.

Experiments have shown that Enviropigs are as healthy as conventional pigs and that the phytase production gene passes along well from one generation to the next.

Liss says the pigs should appeal to commercial hog farmers not only because of their environmental benefits but because they could help producers lower their costs.

“We know that there’s significant risk to the Canadian pork industry, which is not strong at the moment, in terms of the global marketplace,” he said.

But will the pigs and their pork appeal to average Canadians?

That’s an open-ended question. Surveys from Health Canada and others have found the vast majority of Canadians remain deeply suspicious of “biotech” food and concerned about the long-term risks of genetically modified organisms.

That’s despite the fact that about 70 per cent of the food on supermarket shelves already contains GM ingredients.

Liss concedes there will always be a certain segment of the population that will never accept the technology behind Enviropigs. But surveys also suggest that many simply do not understand animal biotechnology or the benefits it can offer.

In the end, Liss says it’s not really for university’s researchers to try to sway public opinion.

“What we do is do the best science that we can. That’s the important thing that the university brings. We’re very interested in commercialization, but what we can best do is bring forth the appropriate science to bear on the question,” he said.

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(Link no longer valid)  http://www.cban.ca/Resources/Topics/Enviropig

(Sandra):  There is a place for suggestions on the website.  Maybe you have some?  I will add some later.

I don’t know if the responsible scientists are aware of public reaction to their work, which is ostensibly to serve the interests of the citizens who own the Universities.  It is our responsibility not just to make our views known to the Government officials, but also to University administrators and scientists.

Students should also be drawn into the discussion.  If there is no discussion, it is not “education” that they are receiving.

Faculty at the Universities of Saskatchewan and Guelph,

–        Departments of Agriculture

–        Departments of Veterinary Medicine

Students in these faculties.

I also think that Departments of Philosophy (ethics) should have valuable input for the discussion.

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Monsanto develops “Genetically Modified Pig”The patenting of livestockby Chris Gupta
Global Research, May 20, 2006

Editor’s Note: Greenpeace has covered this issue in several 2005 reports, when Monsanto launched the GM pigs Patent

“The Earth is flat, pigs were invented by Monsanto, and genetically modified organisms are safe. Right.”

Through more patent perversions such as the earlier “Terminator Corporations’ Suicide Seeds” Monsanto is blatantly continuing their scheme of rounding up the food chain from A to Z!

“One way or another, Monsanto wants to make sure no food is grown that they don’t own — and the record shows they don’t care if it’s safe for the environment or not. Monsanto has aggressively set out to bulldoze environmental concerns about its genetically engineered (GE) seeds at every regulatory level. So why stop in the field? Not content to own the pesticide and the herbicide and the crop, they’ve made a move on the barnyard by filing two patents which would make the corporate giant the sole owner of that famous Monsanto invention: the pig. ”

“The big picture is chilling to anyone who mistrusts Monsanto’s record disinterest for environmental safety. And if you’re not worried, you should be: central control of food supply has been a standard ingredient for social and political control throughout history. By creating a monopoly position, Monsanto can force dangerous experiments like the release of GMOs into the environment on an unwilling public.They can ensure that GMOs will be sold and consumed wherever they say they will.”

Such blatant abuse can only continue if it is not challenged.   . . . . full text at  http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=2480  )

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(Link no longer valid)  http://www.alive.com/4324a12a2.php?subject_bread_cramb=635

Patenting Porky
by author Susan Safyan


“ . . . . . .  Mapping Miss Piggy

Monsanto Choice Genetics™, a division of Monsanto, was the first to complete a physical map of the pig genome (the genetic material of a living organism) in January 2001. This was the first genome map completed for any livestock species. Monsanto is eager to play corporate catch-up with the lead player in the US pork industry, Pig Improvement Company (PIC), a subsidiary of British biotech firm Sygen International, which controls an estimated 40 percent of US market share. Monsanto currently holds about 10 percent of the US swine production market. Ron Schinnour, general manager of Monsanto Choice Genetics™, was quoted as saying “We’d like to build a business like theirs.”

Greenpeace and the Organic Consumers Association, on the other hand, are concerned that once Monsanto holds a patent on pig populations they can sue farmers whose pigs display the same characteristics outlined in the patent claims. Monsanto has, after all, successfully sued farmers, such as Saskatchewan farmer Percy Schmeiser, for allowing Monsanto canola seeds to grow on his land, even though the seeds accidentally blew onto his fields. Monsanto’s aggressive stance on protecting its patent seems to make it oblivious to the real possibility of cross-pollination by insects, wind, or rain.

What would happen if a genetically modified pig was accidentally bred with an ordinary pig? Who would own the piglets? Would royalties have to be paid to Monsanto? If you think it would be impossible for GE pigs to escape from their closely-guarded labs, read on.

A Pig in a Poke

So far, no transgenic animals have been approved for human or animal consumption in Canada, although they are increasingly used in laboratory and field tests. The carcasses of these animals are supposed to be disposed of by incineration or composting. However, in 2002, and again in 2004, genetically engineered pigs from biotech labs in Ontario and Quebec were inadvertently rendered into animal feed. Whether the meat from animals fed the GE pigs reached consumers is “unclear,” according to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). In the US, hundreds of transgenic pigs have accidentally entered the human food supply, some as food for other factory-farmed animals, others more directly–as sausages.

Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in Canada are monitored by the CFIA and Environment Canada. The CFIA assesses the safety of genetically altered foods and products derived from biotechnology, including plants and animals.

However, there is no system in Canada that allows consumers to determine whether foods have been genetically engineered or whether food products contain GE ingredients; there is no mandatory labelling of GE foods, making them something of a pig in a poke. Food growers and manufacturers are governed only by the Canadian Standard for Voluntary Labelling and Advertising of Foods That Are and Are Not Products of Genetic Engineering–which, clearly, is entirely voluntary and, therefore, unenforceable.

An estimated 60 percent of processed foods sold in Canada and the US contain genetically engineered materials–amounting to almost 30,000 food products. Foods that are genetically engineered now include canola oil, soybean products, corn, tomatoes, potatoes, and, in the US, dairy products containing Monsanto’s rBGH, a growth hormone injected into some dairy cattle. (rBGH has been banned by Health Canada.) These can also be “hidden” in food products, for example as cornstarch made from GE corn or lecithin derived from soybeans.

Many more GE foods are on the brink of being approved and marketed. Farmed Atlantic salmon have been genetically engineered to grow faster than their wild counterparts. Chickens are being developed containing genes that make them resistant to viral diseases, able to grow faster, lay more eggs, and produce less body fat. Merck, better known as a pharmaceutical corporation, has produced the MacroChicken, a bigger bird engineered with bovine growth hormones.

Makin’ Bacon

Scientists are just as creative with GE pigs as they’ve been with fish, chicken, and dairy cattle. The EnviroPig™, produced at the University of Guelph, is being marketed as an environmentally friendly product. An unpleasant side-effect of factory-farmed pigs is the enormous amount of pig manure, rich in phosphates, which must be disposed of. When these phosphates leach into water supplies, fish stocks can be damaged, even wiped out. The EnviroPigs™ have been genetically engineered, using E. coli and mouse genes, to produce up to 60 percent less phosphate in their waste.

The Guelph researchers assure consumers that “pork from these animals will be safe when it is approved,” although it is unknown what affect the bacteria and mouse genes spliced into the pigs will have on humans. Moreover, these are the same researchers who accidentally released 11 enviropiglets to a rendering plant for livestock feed in 2002.

Other reported transgenic pig projects, currently under development at Monsanto, involve using the gene IGF-1 (associated with cancer risk in humans) to enhance porcine muscle growth, and recombinant growth hormone (which has caused heart abnormalities in the pigs) to increase overall growth. The Pig Improvement Company is genetically engineering pigs to reproduce more prolifically, resist disease, and carry less backfat.

Pigs with Wings?

It’s entirely possible. Whether it’s tomatoes with fish genes, corn with bacteria genes, or pigs with mouse genes, genetic engineering raises human health, environmental, and
ethical concerns. A number of scientific, consumer advocacy, and animal welfare groups have issued warnings about the inherent and often unknown risks of genetically modifying life.

Canadian geneticist and environmental activist David Suzuki has spoken out against corporate genetic engineering. While a form of genetic modification through same-species breeding has been practised by farmers for millennia (known as vertical inheritance), biotechnology is now allowing us to transfer genes from species to species (horizontal inheritance), with unpredictable and sometimes unintended consequences. For example, salmon genetically engineered with growth hormone unexpectedly turned green, while petunias that had the gene for the colour red spliced into them showed decreased fertility and growth.

Among other possible unintended consequences are those outlined by the Ecological Society of America (ESA), in its position paper on Genetically Engineered Organisms and the Environment. The ESA expresses concerns that transgenic organisms (like faster-growing GE salmon) could spread and disrupt wild populations, leading to a loss of biological diversity. Plants bred to be resistant to herbicides (like Monsanto’s Roundup Ready products) could spread their herbicide-resistant traits to weeds through cross-pollination, creating super-weeds requiring ever stronger, more toxic herbicides. It will be impossible to recall such GE life forms back to their labs once they have been released, and the crops of both organic and nonorganic farmers will be–and have been–altered forever.

The Organic Consumers Association has issued a statement calling for a global moratorium on genetically engineered foods; they cite studies showing the toxicity of some GE foods to humans and animals; increased cancer risk from consumption of GE foods such as rBGH dairy products; serious food allergies to hidden GE ingredients; potential increased antibiotic resistance in those who consume GE foods; and damage to beneficial insects and soil micro-organisms exposed to GE crops.

The Union of Concerned Scientists and the Council for Responsible Genetics have issued warnings about the potential environmental and human health risks of genetic engineering, including the creation of new and especially virulent viruses. Both Andrew Weil, integrated-medicine practitioner, and Barry Commoner, a founder of the modern environmental movement, have spoken out about the faulty science guiding genetic engineering. Many animal rights groups have raised ethical concerns about the grisly and casually cruel ways laboratory animals, such as transgenic pigs bred for human organ donation, are treated.

No More Hogwash

Proponents of genetic engineering say it promises to improve our food resources, clean up the environment, even end world hunger. But each of these chimerical marketing claims has been knocked down as the illusion it is. Mutating and patenting life doesn’t improve the lives and health of farmers, consumers, or the animal species with whom we share a majority of our genes.

Rather, as consumers, we can support better farming practices by buying organically raised beef, sheep, and pigs (which cannot be fed GMOs or undergo engineering), wild fish, and organic produce. Communities in Canada, the US, Asia, and Europe have declared themselves “GE-Free” (see www.canadians.org). Make your town the next GE-Free Zone in Canada. Wilbur and Babe will thank you.

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The “Natural News” view of what happened is followed by The Economist’s explanation.


Monday, November 15, 2010
by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger
Editor of NaturalNews.com

Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/030406_GMOs_survey.html#ixzz1AVDBIscY

Last week we published a story urging our readers to vote NO on the GMO / biotech survey being hosted by The Economist (http://www.naturalnews.com/030370_G…). Within two hours after our post went live and people started sharing it on Facebook and elsewhere, the Economist’s poll servers crashed hard and stayed offline for the entire weekend.

Before this happened, we were winning the vote, of course. Word had spread among the natural health community, and we all began calling for people to vote. Right after we published our article, NO votes from readers all around the world started to flood in, and we saw the survey begin to shift even more strongly in our favor. Had The Economist’s servers actually been able to handle the voting, I have no doubt the final vote would have been 70% against GMOs and 30% in favor.

But as it stood, with their servers offline, the voting was halted at 62% no and 38% yes. Still a victory against the idea of GMOs, of course, but nowhere near the numbers that should have been recorded.

The Economist explains their server problem

“We had a technical problem with our site,” explains Tom Standage, the Digital Editor for the magazine.

“During the last few days of the debate the address of the staging server was circulated on a number of environmental mailing lists, and on Twitter. This caused a sudden flood of “no” votes on the staging server, causing the underlying database to collapse because it was not load-balanced. That’s why we’ve been unable to announce the vote in the usual way.

Instead, we have taken the votes from both servers and have added them up to calculate the final tally: 38% yes, 62% no.

…Now you know what happened and why the voting tallies appeared to be behaving so oddly. We apologise for the confusion.” (http://www.economist.com/blogs/news…)

When the masses revolt against biotech…

The interesting part about this is found in the observation of what happens when the masses take action to protest their foods and seeds being poisoned by corporations. This mass online uprising took down The Economist’s servers in about two hours. (Most NaturalNews readers never even got a chance to vote.) And this was after many days of the so-called “science bloggers” trying desperately to win the vote even before we found out about it.

If you think an online survey crashing from the sheer weight of opposition to GMOs is bad, just wait until there’s a global crop failure caused by the unintended consequences of GMOs and the people suffer mass starvation as a result. If that scenario unfolds, you might see a mass violent uprising that could very well involve people marching on Monsanto’s headquarters and quite literally burning it down out of anger and frustration.

When you mess with nature and deprive people of their right to seeds, crops and food, you’d better be willing to face some rather serious consequences. When corporations like Monsanto are playing God with the food supply, they’re also playing God with people’s lives. And if something goes terribly wrong that leads to a collapse in one or more food crops, I have a feeling the public isn’t going to be very forgiving. I wouldn’t want to be a Monsanto executive in the aftermath of such a scenario, that’s for sure…

The Economist

Despite the glitches, it’s good to know the Economist wasn’t engaged in outright cheating on this survey. We’ve seen lots of cheating before. There were times in the past when NaturalNews readers were actually winning a survey, and the outfit running the survey would simply take it down, remove all the votes they didn’t like, and put it back online with wildly different numbers. (A lot of online surveys are rigged from the start, which is why we normally don’t even participate in them.)
—-  – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –



Biotechnology debate: The result

Nov 12th 2010, 16:48 by The Economist online

“This house believes that biotechnology and sustainable agriculture are complementary, not contradictory”

THE voting has shifted dramatically during this debate, starting out heavily in favour of the motion, swinging strongly in the other direction (seemingly in response to an organised campaign by anti-GM activists), and then swinging back towards the middle. But in the end the opponents of biotechnology—or, more precisely, the opponents of genetic modification in its current form—carried the day with 62% of the votes, against 38% for supporters of the motion.

This is a subject that arouses strong passions on both sides, as can clearly be seen in the comments, but I hope you still found the debate informative. I certainly did, in particular because of the comments from farmers themselves, on both sides of the argument. Neither a rapprochement between the two sides, nor a resolution of the arguments one way or another, seems likely any time soon. Thank you all for participating.

Moderator’s note: The result is being announced in this rather unusual way (in the form of this blog post, rather than on the debate microsite) for an unusual reason; a reason that also explains why the voting tallies have appeared to leap around rather erratically during the debate. Several commenters pointed this out and suggested that this was evidence of foul play. In fact the explanation is much less exciting, and rather complicated: we had a technical problem with our site. Non-techies can stop reading here, but here are the full details for those who are interested.

Our debates are hosted at economist.com/debate, and we also have a “staging” server, where we prepare material for posting, at preview-debates.economist.com/debate/. This second server is only intended for internal use, but Google’s crawlers managed to find it during the past few days and added it to Google’s index.

As a result, people who searched for the debate were directed to one of two different versions of it. The staging server is set up identically to the main debate server, which means it also has its own voting mechanism. Votes were thus being tallied on two entirely separate servers; anyone who visited one, and then the other, would have seen different voting tallies. During the last few days of the debate the address of the staging server was circulated on a number of environmental mailing lists, and on Twitter. This caused a sudden flood of “no” votes on the staging server, causing the underlying database to collapse because it was not load-balanced. That’s why we’ve been unable to announce the vote in the usual way.

Instead, we have taken the votes from both servers and have added them up to calculate the final tally: 38% yes, 62% no. (For completeness, the final tally on the main server was 46% yes, 54% no; on the staging server it was 35% yes, 65% no.) This technical problem has not affected the outcome, then (the motion was defeated); but now you know what happened and why the voting tallies appeared to be behaving so oddly. We apologise for the confusion.

Tom Standage
Digital editor, The Economist

Update Nov 17th: The debate server is now back up, and our technical team has combined the two sets of votes so that the voting tally displayed for this debate on the overview page is now correct.

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(Link no longer valid)  http://www.mindfully.org/GE/GE2/Monsanto-Porken-EarthFirst.htm

The vice president of Monsanto Canada, Ray Mowling, recently held a press conference at the University of Guelph to announce Monsanto’s latest product of food biotechnology. The Porken, a small pig-like creature with wings, is the product of a pig genetically engineered with a chicken.

Developed with funding from the federal government, “The Porken will revolutionize the way Canadians eat breakfast,” stated Mowling.

According to Stephen Yarrow of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, commercial approval of the Porken is expected quickly. “We have deemed that if a pig and chicken could produce an offspring naturally that the Porken would likely be substantially equivalent to it, and therefore no human health testing will be required.”

Monsanto Canada’s Director of Risk Communications, Professor Douglas Powell from the University of Guelph, stated, “Today is a great day for all Canadians: The Porken will feed the world’s hungry, eliminate the need for pesticides, reverse global warming, and will undoubtedly cure cancer and AIDS.”

The National Post’s resident ecologist, Terrence Corcoran, wrote that Monsanto should win a Nobel Prize for this accomplishments. “The world would be at a loss if it weren’t for innovative companies like Monsanto: Who else would try to genetically engineer a pig with a chicken?” insisted Corcoran.

Gord Surgenor of Ontario AgriFood Technologies, a government-funded Biotech lobby group, stated that “Canadians want choice” and therefore Monsanto will be pushing for mandatory labeling.

Joyce Groote of BIOTECanada, another government-funded biotech lobby group, is thrilled with the federal government’s decision to waive further testing. “This new product is the most tested Porken in the history of the world. Consumers should feel safe about this.”

For more information, contact Monsanto at  (Link no longer valid)  www.tao.ca/~ban or www.primalseeds.org.

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“ . . .   The most chilling of industrialized agricultures progress traps may be the Enviro-pig. These pigs are being raised in isolation at the University of Guelph in hopes that they will be approved for human consumption. The problem Enviro-pigs are supposed to solve is water pollution from hog manure.

Due to the latest craze in inhumane treatment of pigs: raising tens of thousands of animals in single barns— indoors for their whole lives in cages over metal slotted floors—a new water pollution threat has been created. Liquid hog manure in the millions of gallons is being created in these mega-hog factories across Canada. The ‘disposal method’ is to spray the hog manure on farm fields as fertilizer. But the liquid hog manure is rich in phosphorus. The over-fertilizing effect of this manure in water courses causes eutrophication, choking the life out of lakes and rivers.

A sensible solution would be to return to more traditional ways of raising hogs. …  (read more)


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(14)  National Geographic  March 30, 2010, REPORTING IS ONE-SIDED, UN-CRITICAL

Gene-Altered “Enviropig” to Reduce Dead Zones?

Pigs modified to excrete less phosphorus win limited approval in Canada.

Genetically altered “Enviropigs” can pass on greener genes to their offspring.

Photograph by Cecil W. Forsberg

Anne Minard

for National Geographic News   (Link no longer valid)

Published March 30, 2010

Move over, bacon. Here comes something greener.

A genetically engineered pig recently approved for limited production in Canada makes urine and feces that contain up to 65 percent less phosphorous, officials have announced.

That could be good news for lakes, rivers, and ocean deltas, where phosphorous from animal waste can play a role in causing algal blooms. These outbursts of algae rapidly deplete the water’s oxygen, creating vast dead zones for fish and other aquatic life. (Related: “World’s Largest Dead Zone Suffocating Sea.”)

Dubbed Enviropig, the genetically altered animal cleared a major hurdle last month, when the government-run Environment Canada approved the animal for production in controlled research settings.

The new biotech pig could take years to pass U.S. and Canadian tests for commercial use and human consumption, noted Steven Liss, an environmental scientist at the University of Guelph in Ontario and a spokesperson for the project.

But the Enviropig’s creators are hopeful the animal will eventually pass muster.

“This will be probably the most significant transgenic food to be approved. We’re in new territory,” Liss said.

The Problem With Pig Poop

Like all living things, pigs need phosphorous from their food, because the element plays a key role in the formation of bones, teeth, and cell walls as well as in a variety of cellular and organ functions.

Swine in the United States primarily eat corn, while those in Canada munch on cereal grains, including barley. But the kind of phosphorus that occurs naturally in those plants is indigestible without an enzyme called phytase, which pigs lack.

Most farmers feed their pigs this enzyme as a supplement. But ingested phytase isn’t as effective at breaking down phosphorus as phytase created inside the pig would be, so a fair amount of the element gets flushed out in pig waste. That waste, in turn, can make its way into the water supply.

Enviropig would eliminate the need for added phytase, because the animal has been engineered to make its own. (Related: “Rabbits Milked for Human Protein; Drug Soon for Sale?”)

Researchers spent more than a decade hunting for an enzyme in nature responsible for breaking down phosphorous, finally finding it in the genome of the bacterium E. coli.

To make sure the modification would work in mammals, the team paired the E. coli genes with a mouse DNA promoter, a section of DNA that encourages replication of a specific segment—in this case the bacterial genes. Researchers then injected microscopic fertilized pig embryos with the mixture.

Early trials revealed that the bacterial enzyme was not only incorporated into the pig genome, it could be inherited by the genetically engineered pigs’ offspring.

“We are now in the eighth generation of pigs, and it has been transmitted to all of those generations,” said Cecil Forsberg, a University of Guelph microbiologist and lead researcher on the project.

“And from our testing, there is no change in the structure of the gene throughout those generations.”

With the added genes, Enviropig is able to absorb more phosphorous from its feed, so less of the element ends up unused and excreted.

Greener Pig Also a Cost Saver?

Enviropig addresses not only environmental concerns but also societal challenges in pig farming, the University of Guelph researchers say.

In addition to cutting feed-supplement costs, Enviropig could help farmers comply with “zero discharge” rules in the United States that allow no nitrogen or phosphorous runoff from animal operations.

Right now, most pork producers meet this law by collecting pig waste in pits and lagoons until it can be treated or recycled as fertilizer—resulting in added expenses for the farmers. (Related: “Human Waste Used by 200 Million Farmers, Study Says.”)

“The cost to produce animals is increasing, putting the burden on farmers in a global marketplace,” project spokesperson Liss said.

Now that Enviropig has reached a milestone, pork producers will be watching to see if the transgenic animal passes safety tests with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, noted Paul Sundberg, vice president of science and technology for the U.S. National Pork Board.

Industry professionals will also want to see a cost-benefit analysis, to be sure Enviropig will be a boon to the industry, Sundberg said.

“Pork producers are in favor of any technologies that can increase their competitiveness,” he said.

So far, no transgenic animal has been approved for consumption in the United States. But in 2008 the FDA announced approval of the first human health product made from a genetically engineered animal.

The goat-derived anticoagulant, ATryn, is used for the prevention of blood clots in patients with a rare disease-causing protein deficiency.

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(Link no longer valid)  http://www.queensu.ca/news/articles/profiles/steven-liss

“ … In addition to advancing priorities and goals, Dr. Liss will also be listening to the community and paying close attention to the developing academic plan.”

I emailed steven.liss  AT  queensu.ca  at 12:21 PM.  It is now 1:03 and the email has not been returned as undeliverable.   So this email address might work.  I sent him a slightly edited version of the introduction to this email.

Google brings up this on Steven Liss, among others:

(Link no longer valid)  https://cfmx1.webapps.ccs.uoguelph.ca/envbio/f_liss.shtml  he got his PhD from the University of Saskatchewan.  Was at Ryerson. May 2007 he became Associate Vice-President (Research Services) at University of Guelph.  April 2010, it was announced that he is vice-principal (research) at Queen’s University, effect Sept. 1   http://www.uoguelph.ca/news/2010/04/queens_names_li.html   and  (Link no longer valid)   http://www.innovationpark.ca/article/new-vice-principal-research-appointed

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