La ménagerie CRISPR (1) : l’expression vise les pratiques de transformations génétiques qui seraient pratiquées sur des animaux d’élevage : veaux sans cornes, chiens hyper-musclés, poissons bien gras… dans l’objectif de rentabiliser l’élevage des espèces concernées, en particulier une croissance plus rapide, une augmentation de la fertilité, la résistance aux maladies ou encore l’adaptation à l’environnement de l’élevage. Ces pratiques font l’objet d’un rapport, récemment publié par le comité d’éthique britannique, Nuffield Conseil on Bioethics. Le comité constate le « potential for genome editing technologies to be applied without considering animals’ basic interests, in a way that may compound some of the problems with historical selective breeding. An example of this would be introducing changes that enable animals to endure poorer living conditions such as overcrowding, with fewer adverse health impacts. Care must therefore be taken to ensure that the introduction of new technologies such as genome editing do not contribute to an acceleration of unethical breeding practices », insiste sur la nécessité d’établir de nouvelles normes de gouvernance : ” Everyone has a role to play in adapting tomore sustainable systems of farming and food production, but this cannot be achieved without a governance system that promotes and encourages these changes »
A la suite de ce constat, les auteurs du rapport mettent en avant 5 principes pour encadrer de nouvelles pratiques d’élevage via CRISPR :
“1. Food security
Food and farming systems should be organised and managed in ways that deliver safe, nutritious food to meet the needs of all humans and animals who depend on them, now and for future generations.
2. Basic justice
Food and farming systems should be organised and governed in a way that respects the basic interests of the people and animals they affect i.e. giving them opportunity to live their lives in a state of safety, security and wellbeing, with access to the experiences that constitute a good life for them.
3. Proportionality and caution
Policy and governance for farmed animal breeding must look beyond just the predicted costs and benefits of innovations, to the implications of their adoption, diffusion and normalisation for the food and farming system. Policies must be aligned with addressing societal challenges such as food sustainability, animal welfare and environmental problems. The implications of not innovating, or of following alternative courses of action, must also be considered.
4. Engagement and procedural justice
New breeding technologies are likely to be the subject of strong public interest, especially where they could have a significant bearing on food security and/or affect the basic interests of people and animals. Those responsible for policy and governance should take steps to listen to the values and interests expressed by members of the public and act on them.
5. Cooperation and solidarity
Government and public authorities operating within the food and farming system should work with other countries to address international challenges such as food security and nutrition, animal welfare, animal health, animal-to-human disease transmission, biodiversity loss, ecosystem impacts and climate change”.
Le rapport précise que son analyse critique ne porte pas sur la technologie en elle-même, mais bien sur les usages que l’on pourrait en faire : « the ethical and social issues raised by the use of genome editing technologies in farmed animal breeding are much broader than questions about the technique of genome editing itself. Genome editing is only one technology, recently developed, which may be supplemented or succeeded by other biological techniques as a way of achieving heritable changes in animals. Our conclusions are in this sense ‘technology-neutral’ and should apply equally to future breeding innovations“.