The news that scientists think it is possible to genetically modify a chicken to make it resistant to avian influenza--also known as “bird flu”-- had me spitting feathers. Talk about treating the symptoms and not the cause! A BBC news piece on January 13 highlights the gallant efforts of scientists to cure the scourge of bird flu using GM technology. Researchers from a joint project between Edinburgh and Cambridge Universities have inserted an artificial gene into chicken cells that would make a chicken resistant to bird flu. The scientists go on to say that they think the potential to protect any farm animal from any viral disease is now only a test tube away. Professor Helen Sang said, “This is really exciting because bird flu is a real challenge to poultry production and if it were introduced to poultry breeding it would protect our large scale production flocks from avian influenza.”
On Sunday, I attended the Just Food:CSA in NYC conference and I was impressed with the great turnout. The Meat and Egg Share workshops connected NYC CSAs with pasture-based farmers in the NYC region. The panelists and attendees discussed the logistics of getting the products from their farms to the various NYC CSAs - from the best refrigerated truck delivery service for the farmers to use down to how much product each CSA member could reasonably contain in their small NYC refrigerators. I had already been talking or emailing with many of the farmers at the conference and was so glad to be able to put faces to their voices and names. It was also great to put a face and voice to the blogging/emailing voice of Kerry Trueman from Eating Liberally. Thanks for stopping by the table Kerry. Thanks also to everyone who signed up for our listserv. I’m so glad Just Food set up our table next to the wine tasting from Martha Clara Vineyard. It certainly made for a steady flow of attendees at the Animal Welfare Approved table. And to all of the farmers I met at the conference, I hope we'll be in touch soon.