The use of genetically modified animals

21 May 2001

Acknowledging concerns about the safety of the research and the welfare of GM and non-GM animals, the report makes a number of recommendations:

Research on the uses of GM animals and the extent of any adverse effects on animal welfare should be funded from public sources, with the results made openly available.

All laboratories carrying out research on GM animals should have emergency plans in the event of escape, and environmental risk assessments should be supplied to the relevant authorities.

Industry and Government should introduce a moratorium on the rearing of GM fish in marine pens, and approval for commercial production should be conditional on the rearing of GM fish in land-locked facilities.

The report also calls for universities and biotechnology companies to work together to develop genetically modified animals that are resistant to diseases such as foot and mouth, to help farmers particularly in the developing world. But it warns that patents and restrictive licensing agreements should not be allowed to obstruct an exchange of knowledge within the public and private sectors in the effort to find a way of introducing genes that allow farm animals to withstand harmful parasites, bacteria and viruses.