TITLE: Opinions of stakeholders in Brazil towards gene editing of farm animals. AUTHOR: M.C. Yunes. KEYWORDS: gene editing; cattle; animal welfare; opinion survey; Brazil.
Maria Cristina Yunes, PhD.
The full title of this Guidance Memo is: Building bridges to promote sustainable livestock systems: Opinions of stakeholders in Brazil towards gene editing of farm animals.
A survey was conducted to better understand their opinions of this biotechnology's potential and perceived benefits (particularly on animal welfare, disease resistance, resilience to external stressors such as hot climate, productivity).
The survey found that the acceptability of gene editing in farm animals is lower for the public and higher in farmers and persons in professions involved with livestock. According to those surveyed, the main concerns are: Unknown side effects; unsure of who will benefit; ethical limits of this biotechnology's use. On the other hand, improvements in animal welfare, farmers' quality of life, and productivity are the chief perceived benefits.
This report highlights three key messages and recommendations: 1) Those closely associated with livestock production are open to using biotechnology to solve problems they face, but lay citizens prefer production systems that they consider to be more natural and animal-friendly. 2) Most stakeholders agree that animal welfare legislation is important in livestock production in Brazil, and labeling should be required for gene-edited products. 3) Decisions of policies and actual use of gene editing in farm animals must be based on the results of open, informed dialogues that truly allow all stakeholders' voices to be heard, and facilitated by parties trusted by stakeholders such as scientists in universities.