Saturday, October 29, 2011

DFO Reply To FrankenFish

Several weeks ago the Women's Party sent a letter to the Prime
Minister's Office expressing indignation that Genetically Modified
Salmon (transgenic) were being reared in a West Vancouver facility
without notice to the public, or in public consultation with municipal
or provincial authorities. We questioned that these fish, as they do
... not occur in nature for they have the genes of other animals sliced
into them when in the egg stage, are in fact salmon. We were
particularly alarmed that these fish are patented. Genetically
Modified salmon are the very first animal in all of history to be

We have just received a reply from the DFO. In his letter Mr.Keith
Ashfield does not dispute that the FrankenFish (so called by the US
press) are indeed being raised and studied in West Vancouver, but
argues that the fish themselves are not patented by the Government of
Canada, and that the Government of Canada only holds the patent to the
foreign (to the fish) genetic material that is being inserted into the
FrankenFish and therefor stay inside the law of Canada which says life
forms cannot be patented in Canada.

We find this reasoning totally disingenuous. And unacceptable. We
know that the process of splicing foreign genes into salmon was first
researched and brought to fruition in Canada through Canadian
universities even if AquaBounty now holds another patent. If Canada
did the original research into the process of Genetically Modifying
FrankenFish and has patented the genetic material itself, how could
Canada (DFO) evade responsibility for breaking federal laws concerning
the prohibition of patenting life forms?

We would like a comprehensive answer to this question, please.

Betty Krawczyk
Writing for The Women's Party

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