Gene edited Pigs are resistant to virusesThrough gene editing, scientists have been able to produce pigs that are resistant to PRRS. PRRS stands for Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory syndrome. This affliction can cause breathing problems and even death in young pigs. This disease is considered to be one the world's most costly animal diseases. While this seems to be a great key to helping pork producers, some farmers are concerned.
Helen Browning of the soil association fears that this genetic edit might result in less humane treatment of the animals. Browning has been farming pigs organically for 30 years and she experienced that pigs kept outdoors with a higher quality of life were less likely to develop the disease. Browning feels that if the animals are resistant, there will be little incentive to treat them humanely.
While Scientists and Farmers alike are trying to integrate these swine into the marketplace, they are still years away. Much like the debate surrounding GMOs, there is a pretty large disparity between public perception and fact. Many conversations need to occur before legislation is molded to cater to these changes. It seems that many of these genetic breakthroughs are moving faster than our government regulation.