Is that a clone in your Beef Wellington?
But that’s what’s ahead in the UK, where the Food Standards Agency has approved the sale of food from the offspring of cloned animals, including meat and milk.
The policy brings the UK more in line with the U.S., where we’ve also gone from wondering where’s the beef to what’s the beef.
The agency’s decision is in line with government policy in the UK, which supports clone farming and clone food without labels, even though research shows eight in ten shoppers oppose the cloning of farm livestock, the Daily Mail reported.
A little more than a decade into the 21st Century, the day has come when you can have a clone not just in your doghouse, but in your evening meal as well.
Both have come to pass — and operate virtually unregulated in the case of the former – despite polls showing the majority of the public is opposed to cloning, be it for purposes of creating pets or farm animals.
As related in “DOG, INC.: The Uncanny Inside Story of Cloning Man’s Best Friend,” pet cloning became a reality alongside the cloning of livestock — in fact, the first successful clonings of several species of farm animals came about in the pursuit to clone a dog.
After Snuppy, the first dog clone, was created in South Korea, dog cloning became a business, producing for customers copies of everything from Tibetan mastiffs to Labrador retrievers, from Pekingese to pit bulls, and loads of beagles destined for lives as laboratory dogs.
In the UK, defenders of the practice of cloning livestock argue that the offspring of clones are the same as farm animals produced through conventional breeding. They claim existing animal cruelty laws are sufficient to deal with any problems or concerns that arise. Both arguments have been made by pet cloning companies as well.
Accidentally oversized animals, while a concern to pet cloners, are not so much an issue on the agricultural side, where creating supersized animals is a goal, and would further boost profits.
The Daily Mail says supporters of the sale of food from clone offspring include Dairy UK, which represents the country’s biggest milk and cheese producers, the Food and Drink Federation, which speaks for manufacturers, and the British Meat Processors Association.
But, as in the U.S., some outlets — Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons, the Co-op, Marks & Spencer and Waitrose among them — have responded to customer concerns by pledging not to use meat or milk from clone offspring in their products.
The FSA, which had argued that meat and milk from the offspring of clones would have to be studied to ensure it was safe, now concludes that there is “currently no evidence” that food from cloned farm animals and their descendants poses a safety risk.
At least 100 clone offspring cattle are being reared on farms in the UK.
As for concerns about ethics and cruelty to animals, the FSA said that’s not its department. Instead, that falls under the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, which has ruled in favor of cloning.
Richard Lloyd, executive director of consumer group Which?, described the FSA decision as “a disappointment for the eight in ten people who don’t want to eat cloned food.”
“It’s vital that the FSA and the Government respect people’s desire to know what they’re eating and control the use of cloning technology in food. As well as an approval process, we want to see a tracking system and clear labelling of these goods on the supermarket shelf.’
Emma Hockridge, head of policy at the Soil Association, which supports organic farming, animal welfare and consumer choice, also has a beef with cloning: “Not only are there insufficient long-term studies into the impacts on human health, cloning is cruel and damaging to animal welfare at all stages of the process,” she said.
In the U.S., the Food and Drug Administration has declared meat and milk from cloned animals safe to eat, admitted that it is probably already in our food supply and has taken no steps to require it to be labeled as such.
In other words, it’s entirely possible that– no matter what your stand is on the issue — you’ve dined on clone.
I’m not sure who knows best, the governments or the people. But sometimes I wonder if our beefed-up brave new world should be a little more chicken.
Posted by jwoestendiek June 3rd, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: agriculture, animal welfare, brave new world, britain, chicken, clone, cloned, clones, cloning, dog inc., dogs, farm animals, farming, fda, food, food and drug administration, food standards agency, fsa, government, health, labels, livestock, meat, milk, pets, policy, science, uk