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Ear to the Ground

Scientists Seek to Create Docile Zombie Animals

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Posted on Jan 14, 2007
Cloned cow
From the Daily Mail

This daughter of a U.S. clone cow was born on a British farm. Moves to clone and genetically modify farm livestock have opened the door to the creation of “farmyard freaks,” some experts are warning.

Researchers are probing ways to create genetically modified livestock that are oblivious to their confinement and thus easier to prepare for subsequent slaughter.

Zombie bacon double-cheeseburger, anyone?


Daily Mail:

Factory farming techniques, most commonly used with pigs and chicken, often involve keeping animals confined in cramped conditions.

For pigs, who are highly intelligent, these conditions can lead to stress and aggression.

However, GM scientists are actively investigating ways to remove the stress and aggression gene from animals, effectively turning them into complacent zombies.

The professor said it might become technically possible to produce “animal vegetables” - beasts which are “highly prolific and oblivious to their physical and mental status”.

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By Eleanore Kjellberg, January 16, 2007 at 11:17 am Link to this comment
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Perfect—-lobotomized animals being eaten by lobotomized people—sounds like the makings of a new “reality show.”

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By Bluestocking, January 15, 2007 at 7:33 pm Link to this comment
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After thinking about this overnight, I just had to post again…

Let’s face facts about this proposal. Purportedly, it was designed to benefit the animals and alleviate whatever suffering the animals may experience as a result of the cramped living conditions typically seen in factory farming.  However, when examined in greater detail, it becomes all too clear that this proposal is in its own insidious way a kinder and gentler form of exploitation—and as such, it’s really designed to benefit human beings and not the animals. 
It does nothing to change the conditions under which animals are kept on factory farms—all it serves to do is dull their senses and force them into passive submission by removing their capacity for response.  If you take this same argument and transport it to the human world, one might as well argue that a patient in a persistent vegetative state shouldn’t require any treatment beyond that required for life support because the patient has little or no conscious awareness of their surroundings—an argument which I think it’s safe to say most people would consider disrespectful and unfeeling to say the least.

It’s particularly ironic that some of the impulses which would be removed from the animal under this proposal—the capacity for aggression, the ability to experience stress—are part of the natural survival instincts upon which the animal would in normal conditions rely to protect itself.  While there’s no question that these impulses can have a negative rather than a positive effect in the setting of a factory farm, this is at least in part because the conditions of a typical factory farm exist for the convenience of human beings and not the livestock—stress and aggression are the natural result of animals being forced to live in conditions which conflict with their survival instincts.  Yes, the argument can be made that this proposal would in the most superficial sense increase an animal’s quality of life by making it more or less oblivious to pain—but the irony is that it can only do this as a result of stunting and diminishing that life instead of expanding it, by removing or blocking some of the very same instincts which serve to protect the animal’s well-being.

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By John Hanks, January 15, 2007 at 7:11 pm Link to this comment
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Scientists with lower middle class values produce an entirely new nation of sheep.

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By Jeanne, January 15, 2007 at 4:07 pm Link to this comment
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We are using science and genetics to be cruel. Time to turn the cart around. And whoever dreamed this up would try to tell me it would be less cruel but they are breeding animals to accept suffering.

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By Jack, January 15, 2007 at 12:15 pm Link to this comment
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It’s unfortunate that genetics and biotechnology have advanced far beyond our ethical systems.  At least we can take some comfort in the fact that genetics was not well understood in the 1800’s, since white scientists would have been harvesting African slaves for medical treatments and experiments.  And if the Nazis had this science, they clearly would have been harvesting Jews and other non-Aryans.  It is still tragic that our scientists operate in an environment where there are absolutely no limits to the horrors and tortures that can be perpetrated on innocent individuals of non-human species.

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By Ga, January 15, 2007 at 11:56 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Eventually, meat is going to be grown directly in Vats. Huge chunks of muscle blobs, twitching in large brine filled Vats, grown for the Global “Hamburgers ‘R Us” Conglomerate. Yum!.

(And there are the beginnings of attempts at this I beleive.)

Which might actually be a viable alternative to feedlots of GM ‘zombie’ cattle.

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By Bruce Boyle, January 15, 2007 at 11:34 am Link to this comment
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Docile bacon, docile workers, and a docile public = the Neonazicon Empire.

It is the other side of Orwell’s,

Fear + Hate = Power

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By DennisD, January 15, 2007 at 11:06 am Link to this comment
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Since we’ve been genetically programmed by over 50 years of television to be compliant, self obsessed consumers nothing more, the cows are ahead of us at this point. It’s good to see that instead of curing disease scientists are diligently working to make a less sensitive hamburger. The demand for that triple Whopper must be unbelievable.

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By Dublin Joe, January 15, 2007 at 5:54 am Link to this comment
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Just think, once reality shows cease to be effective tools at turning humans into zombies who don’t care about the war, eroding civil liberties or a wasting economy, scientists could just engineer us too.

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By Bluestocking, January 14, 2007 at 11:16 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Why do I find myself unaccountably reminded of the Dish Of The Day from “The Restaurant At The End Of The Universe” by Douglas Adams—an animal which was specifically bred to want to be eaten and to be capable of saying so?

How is this any different from what Aldous Huxley envisioned in “Brave New World” where certain groups of human beings are mass-produced, deliberately stunted in vitro, and psychologically conditioned as children so that they will submit to and accept a half-life as a virtually mindless drone? The only difference is that we’re talking about animals rather than people. Nevertheless, animals are still living things and that deserves at least some degree of respect.  There’s no question that the way in which food manufacturers treat animals is not respectful—but in my opinion, all this proposal serves to do is cover up rather than remedy the problem.  It would probably be far easier and cheaper in the long run to change the conditions to meet the natural needs and impulses of the animals rather than vice versa. I have no doubt that the people responsible for this proposal think of this as a humane and ethical solution to the problem—but I for one can’t help but see this as a remarkably shallow, twisted, and cold-blooded way of being humane.

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By kath cantarella, January 14, 2007 at 10:36 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

http://www.genewatch.org tracks the treatment of animals in GM research, etc, and in Australia we have the Truefood Network, which is part of Greenpeace, for people who want to eat food that Dr Jekyll hasn’t been messing with: greenpeace.org.au/truefood.

Jonathan Balcombe wrote a book ‘Pleasurable Kingdom’ that will tug your heart strings over animal rights issues… if you’re not a grumpy cold-hearted old cuss who goes pig-hunting for fun on the weekends, or even if you are.

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By John K. Fitzpatrick, January 14, 2007 at 9:47 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Hey, maybe we can reintroduce animal cruelty into theaters!
“All animals were harmed during the making of this film, but they didn’t mind.”

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By GM Cow, January 14, 2007 at 9:40 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Somebody help me. They do things to me. Terrible things.

They took my baby. I don’t know where he is, or what they are doing to him.

Somebody please help.

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By philly, January 14, 2007 at 9:05 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I like it.  The suffering of these animals as it is now is so tragic.  I eat meat and I may be going to hell!

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By Polly Ester, January 14, 2007 at 9:01 pm Link to this comment
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Extra large burgers, made from docile zombie cows, consumed by a public that is obese and lethargic, digesting their fatty meat watching Bill O’Reilly and the Apprentice—now that explains how Bush became Commander-in-Chief, and why we will end the Iraq War via Iran. 

“Researchers are probing ways to create genetically modified livestock that are oblivious to their confinement and thus easier to prepare for subsequent slaughter. “

So watch out, because all those hyper, smart pigs that are perceived as troublemakers are next; remember they like you dumb, docile and apathetic.

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By trantieungoc, January 14, 2007 at 7:31 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

When do researchers can remove covetous and aggression genes from Bush/Cheney & Co. then turn them into complacent zombies ? They already ate excessive red meats long enough !

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By kath cantarella, January 14, 2007 at 6:49 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Just make them watch TV. Duh!

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