Animal rights organization PETA revealed on Wednesday, Sept. 27, of pigs in Cambodia that are genetically engineered to develop heaps of muscle mass.
Genetically Modified Pigs Bred To Have Abnormally Large Muscles
By producing bigger pigs, farmers can sell more meat and make more money but this comes at the cost of the animal's welfare, PETA said.
"Mutant pigs bred to grow to an enormous size just to be slaughtered and eaten?" PETA's Danny Prater wrote. "This is the very real horror that seems to be unfolding on a Cambodian farm, where genetically altered pigs are being bred to develop heaping knots of muscle mass."
Mutant Animals Not Capable Of Walking Properly
A company called Duroc Cambodia posted on its Facebook page images and videos of the mutant animals that were kept in cages. The videos also show that the animals are not capable of walking properly because of their abnormally large muscles, which now draw flak online.
Breeding Larger Animals
Farmers have been aiming to produce bigger animals. Belgian Blue cattle, for instance, provide more prized and lean cuts of beef because of their hulking sizes but these are the result of selective breeding.
The farm in Cambodia has resorted to a faster method by genetically modifying pigs, a method that has so far failed to produce promising results.
Problems Linked To Breeding Abnormally Muscular Animals
A 2015 experiment conducted by researchers from South Korea and China showed that genetically engineering pigs to produce leaner meat and higher yield is not viable.
The researchers produced "double-muscled" pigs by editing a single gene of the animals using the gene-editing technology TALEN.
However, of the 32 cloned pigs that were involved in the study, only 13 lived to 8 months old. Of the two that eventually survived, only one was considered healthy. There is also concern about birth difficulties because of the abnormally large sizes of the piglets.
Judith Benz-Schwarzburg, from University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna, and Arianna Ferrari, from Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, wrote about the problems with humans genetically modifying pigs to produce super-muscular animals.
"Sperm and egg donors and surrogate mothers are normally killed if they are not reusable for other purposes (such as in other animal experiments)," they wrote. "Animals whose modifications end up being undesirable either die because their health is severely compromised or are killed because they are neither commercially valuable nor usable for scientific purposes.