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Helen Bennett Harvey promises that no animals were harmed in the making of this blog. Vegging Out is a recipe for a new way of life. Or at least a new way of eating. Pull up a chair. Contact me at:

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Do we buy it?

Many things puzzle me. Why, for instance, is CNN’s Lou Dobbs so angry all the time? Why do so many doctors have so many people waiting in their waiting rooms for an appointment set at the same time? Why can’t we cut down on the number of beef cattle in this country and feed the corn those herds would have been eating to dairy cows, therefore freeing up more corn to produce ethanol? Why does anyone care what Britney Spears says or does? (That last one was rhetorical; it is clearly a mystery for the ages.)

But beyond those serious and less serious musings - I know Lou Dobbs gets paid to be gruff – comes a real question: Why does anyone need to clone a cow, or for that matter any animal that ends up somewhere in the human food chain?

This is a matter that really matters, as the FDA this week concluded and announced that “After years of detailed study and analysis, the (agency) has concluded that meat and milk from clones of cattle, swine, and goats, and the offspring of clones from any species traditionally consumed as food, are as safe to eat as food from conventionally bred animals,” says the press release on the FDA Web site.

The agency has asked for a year-old voluntary moratorium on sale of products from cloned animals to continue while market concerns are addressed and notes that its is the offspring of cloned animals that would eventually go to market like so many little piggies that I wish could stay home.

There was no enough information for the FDA to agency to reach a conclusion on the safety of food from clones of other animal species, such as sheep, the new release says.
Hmm…the FDA can determine cloned Bessie is safe to eat or drink the milk from, but not cloned Dolly?

Why then, “while the small cloning industry and some livestock organizations favor the approval of products from clones, a number of consumer groups criticized the FDA’s announcement Tuesday, contending that more study is needed to ensure food safety,”? according the a story on the issue moved by the Associated Press.

“The FDA has acted recklessly and I am profoundly disappointed in their rush to approve cloned foods,” Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., an opponent of cloned food products said in the AP story. “Just because something was created in a lab, doesn’t mean we should have to eat it.”

The response from the FDA was, “Our finding is not alone,” Randall Lutter, FDA deputy commissioner for policy, said in the same AP story. “We are not unique in reaching this. It is one (conclusion) echoed by a New Zealand food safety authority, a European food safety authority, and it was also echoed by the United States National Academy of Sciences.”

The “science-based conclusions agree with those of the National Academy of Sciences, released in a 2002 report. The assessment was peer-reviewed by a group of independent scientific experts in cloning and animal health. They found the methods FDA used to evaluate the data were adequate and agreed with the conclusions set out in the document,” the Web site says.

The thing about all this, however, is that no one has explained adequately to me why we need cloned animals in the food supply at all, even simply as breeding stock to “improve” said stock, which is the only purported benefit I have come across.

I do not pretend to be fully informed on all the ins and outs of this issue nor to be a scientist…did I even study biology in college? Yes, but as I do not recall my grade, I likely was not at the top of that class. Yet, I do not what hits me on a gut level, and this one hits me with a stomach ache.
What’s so wrong with sexual reproduction?




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