Via Stuff’s article on Daisy, the knock-out cow with low-allergen milk:
GE Free New Zealand president Claire Bleakley said cows without the protein BLG was a “frightening development not a breakthrough”
“Researchers that stoop so low as to manipulate the Mauri [spirit or life force] of an animal causing suffering, then pretend that this is a significant breakthrough when we already have business using technology to remove BLG, are inhumane.”
Is DNA a spiritual life-force? It’s hard to see how, since it’s in a constant state of biochemical flux. Nature itself is constantly removing or altering genes between generations – which is why we have different species and variation between members of a species. You could probably eventually breed a cow with naturally low allergen levels, but it might take a long time, and the results would be similar to the genetically engineered outcome.
DNA isn’t magic, it’s a fairly simple chemical structure that is (mostly) just information on how to build proteins. If you buy into the argument that it’s a ‘life-force’ then you’re accepting a hard determinist viewpoint of life in which we have no free-will, because our ‘life-force’ consists of macro-molecules responding to physical processes. Which would mean that the Ag-Research scientists had no choice but to genetically engineer a cow.