There’s two sides of the debate when it comes to the potential impact of GMOs on wildlife and animals.
One side outlines the positive impact, while the other side outlines the negative.
Both sides are outlined below.
Potential Positive Impact Of GMOs On Wildlife & Animals
- Can increase the amount of beneficial insects while decreasing primary pest populations
Because GMO crops and food can be engineered to be more pest resistant and not need as much pesticide, some argue primary pest populations aren’t as much of an issue, but beneficial insect populations have a chance to thrive without as much pesticide being used
- Do not harm secondary populations of animals any more than conventional crops and foods
For example with bees and Monarch butterflies, there are multiple factors (GMO could be one of many factors, but definitely not the sole factor) which can lead to a decrease in their population, despite what is commonly said about GMO impact on these types of species
Conventional crops and food which are also sprayed with pesticide are equally as much of a problem for wildlife
– gmoanswers.com, and fao.org
- Does not harm or damage wildlife any more than conventional crops and food, and may even decrease damage to wildlife and animals
There’s not a huge amount of evidence to say that GMOs cause any more damage to wildlife compared to conventional food and crops
If anything, GMO crops that need less pesticides and fertizlier will generally have less of a detrimental impact on wildlife, as less toxic chemicals and nitrogen will get into the soil, air and water, or directly onto animals and organisms
- There’s currently a scientific consensus that GMOs overall aren’t a big risk for the environment
To date, more than 3,000 scientific studies have assessed the safety of these crops in terms of human health and environmental impact. These studies together with several reviews performed on a case-by-case from regulatory agencies around the world have enabled a solid and clear scientific consensus: GM crops have no more risk than those that have been developed by conventional breeding techniques.
In addition, there is also extensive literature that compiles the socioeconomic and environmental benefits that transgenic crops have reported in two decades of commercialization
Potential Negative Impact Of GMOs On Wildlife & Animals
- Glyphosate herbicide can be damaging to amphibians
Glyphosate is used in weed killers like Roundup. This chemical is water soluble, and can get into water sources like groundwater, rivers, streams, oceans etc. – and harm amphibian populations
It can be toxic for both directly to the animals, and indirectly via water pollution
- Glyphosate can be damaging to micro algae and crustaceans
Same as above – glyphosate can get into water sources and harm the living environment for micro algae and crustaceans
- Pesticide can be damaging to beneficial insects
Pesticides used for weeds and primary pests can still damage populations of beneficial insects with GMOs just as much as conventional crops and foods
- GMOs can create super pests
Pests may develop a tolerance or resistance to certain pesticides even with GMO crops. This can sometimes create super pest populations which are harder to control and can significantly damage crop yields
- Can create unintended effects on the dynamics of populations, or on secondary animals and wildlife (like Monarch butterflies)
There is some information to support the claim that GMOs might be part of the issue of dwindling populations of bees, Monarch butterflies, other pollinators, and other organisms like beneficial soil organisms and beneficial pests
– fao.org, and earthopensource.org
- Potential negative consequences of releasing GMO animals into the wild – such as salmon
GMO salmon or Tilapia may present issues to the ecosystem, food chain and general environment if ever released into the wild
These issues might involve predation, competition and genetic pollution
- The impact of Roundup’s use on GMO seeds is questionable
While Roundup has not tested as toxic to humans and other mammals, the longer it has been on the market, the worse its effects on soil health and long-term plant fecundity appear. In addition, Roundup Ready plants may not allow necessary micronutrients to be absorbed by animals consuming them
[Overall, Forbes says: we should be] worried about the current implementation of GMO due to its effects on cropland, the ecosystem, and human health, and that research into GMOs is taking resources away from potentially much more helpful cross-breeding projects in the short run.