Consuming cloned meat does not benefit public, animals

By Lauren Kelly

In January of 2008, the FDA approved the consumption of meat from cloned animals, which is a frightening thought for many consumers. Cloning technology has not been in existence for very long and the effects of eating cloned meat are largely untested. The success rates of cloned animal births are staggeringly low. But even though there is overwhelming data that indicates cloned animals are born unhealthy, the FDA approved human consumption of cloned cows and pigs.

According to statistics from the American Anti-Vivisection Society, only zero to 3 percent of cloned animals make it to full term. Of those that are born, 33 percent die before 6 months of age. Many animals are born with large offspring syndrome, which is a condition characterized by the animal being born too large. This jeopardizes the health of the surrogate mother as well as the health of the cloned animal. Even if an animal looks normal, it may have internal abnormalities, experience organ failure or have immune deficiencies.

This is absolutely horrific and depressing. I do not eat meat, but I do not condemn people who do. I just want people to be aware of what they’re eating and have information available to them that allows them to make informed decisions.

Animals clearly do not benefit from the practice of cloning and because of the unknown health concerns for humans, the public is not benefiting either. We don’t know if this will affect humans in an adverse way.

The FDA approved the use of cloned meat a year and a half ago, but no legislation has been enacted that requires distributors to label their products or issue any type of warning to consumers. Cloned meat has already entered the food supply and is being sold in grocery stores—without most of the public’s knowledge.

By not requiring labeling of these foods, the FDA negates the choice of the consumer in the marketplace and opens up a Pandora’s Box by disregarding the will of the public. In contrast, the European Union has said it would require labeling of products from cloned animals if cloning

was approved.

Many distributors claim they are cloning animals for breeding stock purposes and clones have not entered the food supply. But there is no way to be certain of this because cloned products don’t require labeling.

But what is truly driving the practice of animal cloning for food is not the lack of public interest and accountability; it is money. Many interests are at stake in the business of cloning and food production. The only parties profiting from this practice are large corporations such as pharmaceutical companies and bioengineering firms. The corporations that benefit from the practice are raking in billions of dollars through patenting technology, inventing new technology and selling cloned meat in the marketplace.

Social and political revolutionary Mahatma Gandhi once said, “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” This speaks volumes about where this country’s commitments lie.

Cloning and genetically altering animals, which causes them pain and sometimes death, then slaughtering them to sell in grocery stores, reveals something about this culture. There is always money to be made by murdering living things and people don’t seem to care. We value wealth, power and control with no regard of how it affects others.

The FDA is willing to allow the torture of animals to make large companies millions of dollars. If the past few years are telling of the moral progress of America, citizens should be nervous.

If the public took a stand and demanded the prohibition of this practice or just demanded greater accountability, animals and the food supply would be better off. Of course, an option to bypass this problem completely is to adopt a vegetarian lifestyle, but I’m not naive enough to believe the entire country will stop eating meat.

However, if you are interested in demanding regulation or labeling of cloned meat, contact the FDA at Food and Drug Administration, 5630 Fishers Lane, room 1061, Rockville, Md., 20852 or write to your state senators to make your voice heard.