Enviropig herd research renewal ends: Animals humanly euthanized

Jun 22, 2012

By , Farms.com

It’s been confirmed that the enviropig herd at the University of Guelph have been euthanized after Ontario Pork decided this spring to redirect its research dollars. This partnership arrangement allowed researchers at the university to own the enviropig technology, while Ontario Pork holds the trademark. The research project was deemed successful, where all the genetics have been proven. The 10 animals represented the 10th generation of enviropigs. This is the end of a long research project that started back in the late 1990’s where the university conducted research on developing transgenic pigs that would be able to produce manure with lower phosphorus levels making them “environmentally friendly,” while providing a future alternative to protein for human consumption.

Animal activist groups from the U.S and Canada offered to find homes for the pigs, but Canadian law prevents such actions, and there was no other option but to euthanize the pigs in a humane way. Adoption of transgenic animals pose a potential health risk for fear that the pigs could either intermix with other herds of pigs or accidently enter into the food chain.

 Lori Bona Hunt a spokesperson from the University said that they received "many generous and well-intentioned offers" from individuals and groups interested in helping find homes for the "enviropigs."

Although, the research has ended the University of Guelph plans to store the enviropig genetic information in protected storage at a federal government facility operated by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada in Saskatchewan.

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