Probably the number one question I get asked over the internet is if our Hubbard® Life products (esp. dog and chicken feeds) are made with GMO grains. For a while I would try to explain GMO and non-GMO grain differences but I found it did not matter. So now when I get that question, I just say ‘Yes’. They are all made with GMO grains.
I have been pondering how to help spread the word that GMO is not the result of a mad scientist working in a lab modifying grains to take over the world (that was Brain’s job if you remember the show Pinky and the Brain). I was reading my Drover Cattle Network e-letter and an article from Dan Murphy called Commentary: On the meaning of ‘natural’ that gave me a chuckle. He starts out asking what is “natural” and suggested that most of today’s modern production is called “unnatural” by critics. But he continues to say the “tolerance” about natural is much broader in other areas outside of grains in agriculture.
The first analogy he has is seedless fruit, particularly watermelon. Since animals will consume normal fruit to move seeds for the plant, a seedless fruit seem to be a “waste of time” in nature terms. But people like seedless fruit and thus breeders will take male pollen with 22 chromosomes and cross with a female flower with 44. The resulting plant has 33 chromosomes which makes it sterile. Very similar to a mule by crossing a horse with a donkey. But with a mule, the sterility is a bad thing whereas it is a good thing with the fruit.
But if you look at a website that talks about modern seedless watermelon, most negative comments were about how it did not taste as good as a watermelon with seeds. But not one comment was about it being unnatural or how we should not consume it.
The next analogy he makes is about dogs today. I breed purebred Shelties and Collies. But how many of you have heard of Dorkies or Schweeines? Many people are taking purebred lines and breeding them for these different types/names of dogs for the fun of it. Isn’t that un-natural too? I remember when those were called mutts or Hienz-57, but never a breed. But no one thinks as these “Frankenmutts”, as Dan put it, as unnatural.
So as far as I can tell, some grain made someone mad and now the world is getting back at it as it is being changed to fight that nasty herbicide or other insects. It doesn’t matter that we have to produce more food with less water, ground and other resources as the world’s population keeps growing and growing. Maybe we can come up with a way to feed more seedless watermelons to our animals and then people would not complain as much.
The bottom line is that there is a lot of 'hype' and negativity surrounding GMO’s and in some cases that hype may come from a place of misunderstanding. Perhaps by thinking about these two other analogies that seem perfectly acceptable, we can begin to understand that using GMO’s in our animals’ feed is not really a bad thing after all.
Posted on 12/10/2014 by Dr. Ed Bonnette | Category: Equine, Poultry, Cat, Dog, Rabbit, Sheep, Goat, Specialty
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