Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Cloned Meat

You likely heard in yesterday's screaming news that cloned animals have been approved for consumption, including their products such as milk. Some people are still concerned that these products are in some way dangerous.

I have a question for those who worry about it. Is there something wrong with humans who are reproduced via in-vitro sterilization? Or how about twins, are they "freaks"?


Lynne said...

In vitro and cloning are two very different processes. My objections to this have more to do with the animals than the "meat".

There are all kinds of health problems associated with cloned animals:
Recent cloning research has resulted in high failure rates, and many farm animals used in the studies have suffered a long list of health problems, including abnormalities such as deformed feet, weakened immune systems, dysfunctional organs and premature death.

Surrogate mothers used in cloning research can also suffer reduced welfare from fetal overgrowth, repeated surgeries and injections, and pregnancy complications that have resulted in death.

The newly-published FDA risk assessment itself notes that both the cloned baby animals and their surrogate mothers are more likely to suffer health problems.

Regardless of whether the animals are safe for consumption, this will introduce a new era of “breeding” ill and malformed animals destined to live lives of misery. In a time of corporate agriculture and the horrors of factory farming, I believe this is a giant step backward in the struggle to bring humane treatment to our non-pet companions.

Aside from all that, when was the last time any government agency told us the truth?

Greyhair said...

I'll not get into the animal welfare controversy at this point without more information. I'm a meat eater, and there's a whole lot of hypocrisy potholes for me in such a discussion.

I'm mostly addressing those who are worried that cloned animals are somehow "different" or abnormal. They aren't. They're simply twins and no more "strange" than the examples in the post.

Lynne said...

Actually twins and clones are very different. They are not genetically identical: twins have different fingerprints. Clones would be genetically identical.

Our scientific understanding of processes doesn't extend far enough for me. I have no problem with people who don't mind eating cloned stuff. If y'all are happy to act as "lab rats" over the coming years, more power to you. I'll pass on it all and if they don't label the product as such, I'll go vegan. I should anyway, it's healthier for me.

Greyhair said...

Actually, I'm pretty sure that monozygotic twins are genetically identical. Environmental factors can eventually change genetics in the individual(a relatively new discovery)

If you want to hear an interesting story about cloning, check out an episode of This American Life:

I see it as two different issues. Treatment of animals is one issue, and indeed all animals are quite routinely mistreated. But how an animal is reproduced is quite another issue. Cloned animals are simply animals reproduced by a different means that are identical twins to the original. But as is evident in the above episode of TAL, being a twin doesn't mean squat when it comes to the animals ultimate personality.

If you're concerned about the treatment of animals, going vegan is definitely the answer. I choose to buy products that are produced by "aware" producers rather than give up meat altogether.

Buy the way, it's highly unlikely that you'll be presented with, oh say "cloned meat" because the cost of cloning is prohibitive. Maybe down the road, but right now the technology is primarily being used as a less expensive propogation technique for breeding stock, rather than paying a million bucks for some prime bull semen.