Enviropig, the Genetically Engineered Eco-Friendly Pork, Is Off the Table

That's all, folks, for what might have been the first GM animal approved for dinner

Lord Rex via Flickr

Genetically modified pigs that excrete less waste may be euthanized before they could be slaughtered for human consumption, according to a report out of Canada. The current herd of Enviropigs, which digest their feed more efficiently, just lost their funding.

Scientists at the University of Guelph in Ontario developed the first Enviropig in 1999, according to Reuters. Ontario Pork, a hog farming association, had provided more than $1 million (Canadian) to fund the project, which so far has yielded eight generations of Enviropigs. They just pulled the plug: “We think we took the genetic research as far as it could possibly go,” Keith Robbins, the group’s spokesman, told Reuters.

Unless the university finds other funds, it will euthanize the current herd of 16 animals, the Reuters report said, citing Lori Bona Hunt, a spokeswoman for the University of Guelph. Their genetic material will be cryogenically preserved and could potentially still be studied.

Enviropig’s research team had applied for approval to sell the animals for human consumption in the U.S. and Canada. Neither the Food and Drug Administration nor Health Canada has made a decision.

The FDA is still supposed to rule at any time — that’s been the case for months — on the sale of genetically modified salmon for human consumption. Whatever happens with the fish, it looks like it will not be accompanied by genetically modified bacon.