Why are GVOS used in agriculture

Genetic engineering in animal feed

Soy cultivation in Germany

Germany's dependence on soy imports is increasingly meeting with criticism in this country. Because in this way large quantities of genetically modified soybeans come into the country and because the cultivation conditions in the countries of origin are usually not very sustainable and are often associated with deforestation, monocultures and high use of chemicals.

In order to reduce these dependencies and make arable farming more diverse, the federal government has been promoting the cultivation of domestic protein crops - including soy cultivation - as part of the protein crops strategy for several years. With success: In Germany, the soybean acreage has multiplied from 1,000 hectares in 2008 to almost 29,000 hectares in 2019. In terms of the enormous feed consumption, however, this is hardly significant: the around 84,000 tons of soybeans that were harvested in Germany in 2019 correspond to only 1.4 percent of the imported quantity of 6.2 million tons.

Soy has by far the largest share of protein feed imported into the EU. It is contained in most compound feed and covers around two thirds of the total consumption of protein-containing feed.

Imported soy is almost always genetically modified. According to transgen.de, around 90 percent of world trade in soybeans and meal comes from countries in which almost only genetically modified soybeans are grown.

In addition to soy, there are other genetically modified plants that can end up in the troughs of our livestock as imported fodder. These are corn, rapeseed and cottonseed as well as sugar beet pulp.

Compared to soy, far less of it is imported: maize and rapeseed mostly come from domestic production, where only GMO-free varieties are grown.

Additives in feed are also often genetically modified

However, animal feed - as well as food for human consumption - also comes into contact with genetic engineering in other ways. They often contain additives such as vitamins, amino acids or enzymes that are produced with the help of white genetic engineering.

This refers to biotechnological processes in which genetically modified microorganisms - such as fungi or bacteria - produce organic chemicals.

Do genetically modified feed have an impact on milk, meat and eggs?