How do you feel about cloning and cloned meat?
Some say “that food from cloned animals is unwanted, unnecessary, possibly dangerous and a catastrophe for animal welfare” and some say “it is beyond our imagination to even find a theory that would cause the food [derived from clones] to be unsafe”.
For livestock breeders it would mean unlimited copies of their prize animals; offspring with top quality meat or milk, exact copies with the same reproductive capability, instead of just one who has a limited reproductive lifetime and there’s no guarantee that any of its offspring will inherit its qualities.
There a many advantages for consumers, including reduced cholesterol in meat and milk, plus higher levels of good fatty acids and antioxidants.
Cloning would allow relatively easy reproduction of cattle genetically engineered to lack the prion protein that makes them susceptible to mad cow disease and make it possible to replicat animals engineered to resist illness or with a small ecological footprint.
However, there are always two sides. One of the issues raised is that of food safety. Some claime that the studies that exist have been done only by the livestock companies themselves, who have a vested interest in a positive outcome. Some research says the composition of meat from cloned and normal cows were mostly the same, though there were slight differences, but these were within the normal range for human consumption.
Studies have shown that consumers want cloned foods to be labelled, but they would be unlikely to buy food derived from cloned animals in the first place.
But this doesn’t address the issue of greater incidence of serious health problems afflicting cloned animals and their surrogate mothers. “We believe the cloning process has the potential to cause unnecessary pain, suffering and distress,” says Nikki Osborne, a developmental biologist with Eurogroup for Animals.
Considering the current level of suffering and health problems of surrogate dams and animal clones, the European Group on Ethics in Science and New Technologies has doubts as to whether cloning animals for food supply is ethically justified.
Everyone in the debate freely admits that health issues are more common in clones and their surrogate mothers than in animals that aren’t cloned.
One of the main problems among cloned cows and sheep is “large offspring syndrome”, a potentially fatal condition characterised by malformed limbs, livers, brains, urinary and genital tracts, and dysfunctional immune systems. The problem is thought to be caused by complications in resetting the genetic instructions during the cloning process. Large offspring syndrome is also a problem for surrogate mothers. Cows and ewes carrying cloned offspring are known to have significantly more late miscarriages and difficult births due to large offspring.
Clones health problems are of concern but once the clones mature, they are as health as non-clones. Conventionally produced offspring suffer from the same problems as cloens, albeit at a lower rate.
This was summarised from a New Scientist article, I’m sorry I don’t have any links but I only have a printed out copy.
So what do you think about cloning? Are you for or against it? Why or why not? Do you think we will be consuming cloned goods in the future whether you want it to happen or not?
This question is in the General Section. Responses must be helpful and on-topic.