GM 'Spider Goats' on Display at Experimental Farm

By Jordan Miller;

The push for Genetically Modified (GM) animals seems to be something that never goes away despite the tremendous public outcry. Within the last few years, Canada, as well as the USA have seen several submissions from companies proposing to introduce GM breeds of animals into the food system, including GM fish and GM pigs. Despite all the new evidence and studies coming forth on the health and environmental dangers of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs), some companies still feel that there is a need to keep introducing GMOs into our environment. A recent story published by the Canadian Biotechnology Action Network (CBAN), reported a family's shock and disgust with the Experimental Farm (Ottawa, Canada), for displaying two Genetically Modified species of Goat (also known as 'spider goats').
“Seeing the transgenic goats gave me a horrible, sick feeling inside. I just think it’s wrong,” said Beatriz Oliver, who brought her four-year-old daughter and two-and-a-half-year old son to the farm on Saturday not knowing the GM goats were at the museum, “I was glad they’re too young to read the signs. I didn’t want to have to tell them that someone put spider DNA into these goats. It’s unethical and unnecessary.”
Two genetically engineered (also called genetically modified or GM, transgenic) goats are now on display at the Canada Agriculture Museum, Central Experimental Farm in Ottawa. The goats were engineered with genetic material from spiders to create spider silk from their milk, for making military grade textiles. 

Display signs at the museum say: “What are spider goats? These goats look like goats, act like goats, but have been genetically modified to produce milk containing spider silk proteins”.

The display shows that the silk from the GM goats could be used to make bulletproof vests, fishing line or medical sutures. The display does not mention that the company that developed the technology does not exist anymore or that the GM silk is not being produced anywhere in the world. 

The Central Experimental Farm in Ottawa is run by Agriculture Canada and houses the Canada Agriculture Museum with animal barns designed for family visits. The GM (also called genetically engineered or transgenic) goats are displayed with the sign “Spider (Transgenic) Goats” because they were genetically modified with genetic material from spiders, to create a silk that can be extracted from their milk to make textiles such as bulletproof vests. The final product is trademarked “BioSteel” but is not commercialized. 
“The GM goats are leftovers from a failed business venture but are being used to promote genetic engineering,” said Lucy Sharratt of the Canadian Biotechnology Action Network (CBAN), "There has never been a democratic debate about GM animals in Canada."
Nexia Biotechnologies was founded based on GM goat research at McGill University but was delisted from the Canadian Stock Exchange in 2009. For more information on how to take actions, please visit CBAN.

Your question: What are your thoughts on 'Spider Goats'? (post your comments below)

About the Author : Jordan Miller is the co-founder of He has overcome illness through dietary/lifestyle changes, and practicing a positive mindset daily. Jordan is currently learning about traditional North American medicinal herbs, in hopes of becoming a Certified Herbalist.

1 comment:

  1. so do they keep the goats pregnant to produce milk?


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