What do you get if you cross a spider with a goat?

The BBC Horizon’s “Playing God” is a documentary about genetic engineering. Although it doesn’t cover all the horrendous stuff going on with our food, it does feature some other ways scientists are manipulating the genome for profit…

The spider-goat is one example. They’ve taken the gene that produces the spider web protein and inserted it into goats so that they produce this protein in their milk. The “benefit” is the production of incredibly strong web proteins that can be made into thread and have all sorts of potential applications…

Another disturbing development is using yeast to make diesel, yes that’s right. Instead of making alcohol from sugars the genetically modified yeast make diesel.

What is especially disturbing about genetic engineering as it plows forward unchecked, is the complete lack of ethical framework. Businesses can pretty much do whatever they like it seems and when profit is the sole motive, God help us…

The presenter of the program called genetic engineering “an uneasy bargain” or words to that effect — risk vs reward, the risk being that the genetically engineered life-forms will “get out” of the lab, or the factory and into nature where they can’t be recalled. Now call me crazy but anything above 0% risk is unacceptable.

And the uneasy fact is that they are already out. The GM food companies, the biggest being Monsanto have been playing God for a while now and the results of their meddling are being grown all over the place with blatant disregard for the potential environmental effects, not to mention the unknown health effects.

I think the most disturbing thing of all was seeing a bunch of enthusiastic amateurs, messing with genetics by using gene parts ordered off the internet. Very unsettling.

What stuck in my mind way back, was the line in Jurassic Park…

“Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could,
they didn’t stop to think if they should.

New technology, businesses scrambling to get their piece of the pie, all unchecked, no ethical framework whatsoever, no one is asking “should we?”

I’m concerned.

It’s crystal clear to me that we urgently need a World Ethics Committee, agreed, empowered and respected by all nations to ask the “should we?” question — for genetic engineering, for trade, for lots of things. Because otherwise competition will drive businesses to continue to abuse technology, to abuse people, to abuse animals, to pollute the planet. There urgently needs to be a level playing field for trade that puts ETHICS FIRST.

Click here to help raise awareness of genetic engineering

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