Governors Letter to President Trump on Animal Biotechnology
We the undersigned Governors would like to draw your attention to an important issue facing U.S. agriculture. Farmer access to new biotechnologies, such as gene editing, is critical to maintaining the security and stability of the rural economy and our nation’s food supply. These technologies offer significant promise to enhance the health of animals and plants, make better use of agricultural resources, and produce safer food. This potential can only be realized with appropriate, science-based regulation at the federal level.
We ask that you move all agricultural applications of biotechnology in animals under the regulatory authority of the USDA. As plant applications are regulated under the Plant Protection Act, so too should agricultural animal applications be regulated under the Animal Health Protection Act. Not only will a common policy under the USDA better foster development of this technology for the public good, it will also far better serve U.S. interests in marketing our agricultural products overseas. The current situation—having significantly different regulatory approaches under different agencies for plants and animals—is simply not tenable.
The U.S. agriculture sector is vital to the American economy, generating over $1 trillion in annual economic activity. The continued success of American agriculture depends on access to new biotechnology that has been well-vetted under a rational, science-based regulatory system administered by the USDA. We appreciate your attention to this matter.