In 2015, the FDA approved the application by Aqua Bounty to produce genetically engineered, “GE”, salmon. These “frankenfish” (term coined by Senator Lisa Murkowski from Alaska) were the first GE animal approved for human consumption in the US, and are still the only GE animal on the market.
In this new species, DNA from wild Chinook salmon and an eel-like fish are fused and injected into Atlantic salmon. These genetically engineered salmon will grow to full size in half the time of a wild fish.
The meat industry is anxiously waiting to engineer more species (land and water) in their labs as soon as the FDA gives their approval. Sales of Frankenfish have already started in Canada and will begin in the US soon. We must act now to stop the sale and production of Frankenfish in Washington state.
We have to take a stand now.
What are we doing right now? Food Action is working on a statewide ballot measure for 2018 to ban the sale and production of these Frankenfish in Washington State. We are in the process of early research and polling required to run a successful campaign. We need your support to raise $25,000 to get this campaign off and running.
We, together as a group, have to take action to ensure that we have control over our food choices. Together, we can make this goal a reality. Every donation received up to the $25,000 goal will be matched by a generous group of local funders, so your money will have double the impact. Donate to the campaign right now and become a food activist.
What’s next? After the initial polling and research, our team will take the next step to craft a ballot measure. This ballot measure will then need to be certified by gathering over 300,000 signatures to qualify to be on YOUR ballot next November. Let’s say no the sale and production of GE salmon in Washington State together.
Reasons for ban
- Farmed GE salmon require increased antibiotics, leading to the public health concerns of increased toxicity, allergic reactions, and the growth of antibiotic resistant bacteria (Center for Food Safety). GE salmon also contain higher levels of the growth hormone IGF-1, a known carcinogen and hormone disruptor (FDA) as well as less healthy omega-3 fatty acids.
- There is a possibility of escape into the wild habitat. 30% of wild salmon caught in British Columbia are Atlantic salmon that have escaped from fish farms (WWF). Scientists estimate that the release of only 60 GE fish into a wild population of 60,000 would lead to the extinction of the wild population in less than 40 fish generations (National Academy of Sciences).
Native treaty and cultural rights
- The Muckleshoot and Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians are calling on the US FDA to halt the introduction of GE salmon until they conduct a full Environmental Impact Statement with further scientific review and formal consultation with Northwest Treaty Tribes based on the 1974 ruling that reaffirmed the rights of WA tribal members to fish, hunt and harvest shellfish on their native land.
- The impact of salmon on the Washington state economy is $9.35 billion (Non-treaty alone).
- Genetic modification comes at the expense of the fish’s welfare. Non-transgenic fish exhibit better predator-avoidance skills compared to transgenic counterparts. GE salmon can show decreased swimming capacity, reducing their ability to forage and avoid predators, and some exhibit severe deformities consisting of extra cartilage around the head that disrupts normal ventilation, feeding, and increases mortality (Humane Society).
- When biotech companies like Monsanto, Dow, Dupont and Syngenta create GM seeds, they’re also creating entire systems of food production. By creating a suite of products designed to work together – seeds for crops engineered to withstand Roundup, a probably human carcinogen, for example – they’re able to control the entire farming cycle and block out competition. Choice becomes increasingly illusory as mega-mergers become more common.
- The power and influence of these huge corporations have spread beyond the agriculture industry to political campaigns and regulatory processes around the world. Agrichemical heavyweights are spending millions to make it hard for us to know if GMOs are in our food. And if we don’t know where our food is coming from, we don’t know how little choice we have about what we eat – or what chemicals are being used to grow it (Food and Water Watch).