A personal blog with craft tutorials, reviews of books, films, and music, parenting advice, and opinions on society and politics.

August 5, 2010

Would you eat cloned meat?

Genetic cloning montage
5 August 2010

Cloning was a dream of science-fiction many years before it became a reality, with Dolly the Sheep becoming the first mammal to be cloned in 1996.

The science is now more fact than fiction, and the method somatic cell nuclear transfer is now a fundamental research tool. Cloning has been used to save endangered species from becoming completely extinct, and farmers might consider the possibility that their cloned livestock would produce more milk, have leaner meat or have a higher resistance to diseases.

However, there is some concern about the yields from the cloned livestock being consumed: is there a danger in this?

The UK's Food Standards Agency said the sale of produce from cloned livestock is illegal, as it is considered a "novel" food, and needs special authorisation. To me this means that cloned produce would be more of a delicacy then?

There is no proof that cloned produce is dangerous in any way. Even if a cloned animal's yield has a so-far-unidentified harmful aspect, the likelihood of this characteristic being transferred to its offspring is slim.

There are also concerns that clones will not be cared for - they already have a likelihood to suffer from abnormalities such as kidney problems, or offspring are overly large. Even livestock that is bred in the normal manner are treated badly by abattoirs and dairies - what is the status of a clone?

Would you partake in a meal if you knew the meat or milk was from a cloned cow?

For more about this subject, click here.