I’ve heard of goat milk, but goat silk? Quebec-based Nexia Biotechnologies, Inc. is trying to genetically engineer goats to produce milk that contains spider silk proteins in order to manufacture a material lighter and stronger than steel.
Not only is this experiment bizarre, it’s cruel and worthless. Eighty to ninety percent of genetically altered animals die within hours or days, and those who do survive are frequently born with severe physical abnormalities, including missing limbs, facial clefts, and massive brain defects. Tinkering with animals’ genes often causes physiological and immune system problems that researchers can neither anticipate nor control.
Nexia president and CEO Jeffrey Turner acknowledged that “Mother Nature spent 400 million years to perfect this process—she knows a little better than we do,” yet Nexia is still trying to “perfect” the way the goats “spin” the silk—and hoping to reap profits from the animals’ misery.
Experiments on genetically altered animals will not be any more useful or relevant than experiments on nongenetically engineered animals. It’s just not nice to fool with Mother Nature.