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GE Goats

Spider (Transgenic) Goats

Breed/Race: "Spider (Transgenic) Goats"

Update 2013: The Museum in Ottawa has removed the goats from display after public pressure.

March 27, 2012, Press Release - Genetically Modified Goats on Display at Ottawa Experimental Farm: Family Outing Turns to Shock

GM Goats at the Museum 2

GM goats at the Ottawa Museum

“Seeing the transgenic goats gave me a horrible, sick feeling inside. I just think it’s wrong,” said Beatriz Oliver, who brought her four-year-old daughter and two-and-a-half-year old son to the farm on Saturday not knowing the GM goats were at the museum, “I was glad they’re too young to read the signs. I didn’t want to have to tell them that someone put spider DNA into these goats. It’s unethical and unnecessary.”

Two genetically engineered (also called genetically modified or GM, transgenic) goats are now on display at the Canada Agriculture Museum, Central Experimental Farm in Ottawa. The goats were engineered with genetic material from spiders to create spider silk from their milk, for making military grade textiles.

Display signs at the museum say: “What are spider goats? These goats look like goats, act like goats, but have been genetically modified to produce milk containing spider silk proteins”. Click here to see more photos of the "Spider Goats" at the Museum.

The display shows that the silk from the GM goats could be used to make bulletproof vests, fishing line or medical sutures. The display does not mention that the company that developed the technology does not exist anymore or that the GM silk is not being produced anywhere in the world.

Take Action

Write to the Museum at cts@technomuses.ca or send your letter to Canada Agriculture Museum, P.O. Box 9724, Station T, Ottawa, ON K1G 5A3. Send us a copy of your letter if you would like CBAN to quote you.

Background

The Central Experimental Farm in Ottawa is run by Agriculture Canada and houses the Canada Agriculture Museum with animal barns designed for family visits.

The GM (also called genetically engineered or transgenic) goats are displayed with the sign “Spider (Transgenic) Goats” because they were genetically modified with genetic material from spiders, to create a silk that can be extracted from their milk to make textiles such as bulletproof vests. The final product is trademarked “BioSteel” but is not commercialized.

The Canadian company, Nexia Biotechnologies, that developed it no longer exists. Nexia Biotechnologies was founded based on GM goat research at McGill University but was delisted from the Canadian Stock Exchange in 2009.

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