Something’s Fishy

By Amanda Benjamin, Environmental Justice Intern
August 8, 2011
Columban Center outreach advocacy intern

Amanda Benjamin

On June 16, 2011, the U.S. House of Representatives passed an amendment to the Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act (H.R. 2112) which would prohibit the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) from approving the application of a genetically modified (GM) salmon.  The GM salmon, produced by AquaBounty Technologies, is a genetic hybrid of the ocean pout and the Atlantic and Chinook salmons. God called all of his creation “good” and each has significance and importance in our world. As Christians, we are called to respect and live in harmony with all of God’s creation.  The unknown dangers of GM salmon threaten this harmony. If introduced into open waters, GM fish could have a long lasting and damaging effect on biodiversity and to the resources that are already scarcely available. The long term effects of this fish on human health have yet to be discovered as well and thus approving GM salmon could possibly expose the public to allergies, new viruses, and respiratory reactions.

The House’s decision to pass the amendment is encouraging but it cannot end here.  The bill has recently been referred to the Senate’s Committee of Appropriations and the CCAO office is taking an active role in working to prevent GM salmon from making it to the market.  By continuing to pressure Congress through letters, phone calls and Congressional visits, we are hoping the Senate will see the importance of protecting the integrity of humanity and also the integrity of all of God’s creation and support the amendment to prohibit GM salmon.

By the time this newsletter is published, the Senate may have already reached a decision on the bill or the bill may still be under consideration.  Either way, I urge our readers to become a voice for those who are not heard and represent those who do not have the means to represent themselves.  In addition to migrants, those who are poor and all those who are marginalized, our environment is also a member of the unheard and abused in our society.  This amendment is a way of listening to God’s creation and we can help Congress hear with our support.