Thursday, February 08, 2007

Cloned Animals not Necessary to Sustain U.S. Food Supply


The FDA's recent approval of cloned animals for introduction into the food supply offers no direct or immediate benefit to the general carnivorous public.


Cloned beef? No, thank you.

The FDA's recent approval of cloned animals for introduction into the food supply offers no direct or immediate benefit to the general carnivorous public.

Already our beef is plentiful. Kansas is second in the nation for the number of beef cattle on feedlots with 2.3 million head, according the the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the total number of feedlots with a capacity of 1,000 or more head is 10.7 million nationwide.

Also, cloned animals produce offspring with genetic abnormalities, as attested by K-State's own experts, so the long-term viability of cloned beef cattle is limited at best.

Certainly the element of cost does not work in its favor. Anything that is experimental and lab-intensive isn't likely to be economical. Reasonably priced cloned beef still is years away.

Petri-dish burgers also are not likely to taste any better than your average mass-produced cow. Their genes might be strong, but it's the way they're raised and fed that ultimately affect their sapidity.

If you're looking for superior taste or redeeming nutritive value, try grass-fed beef as an alternative to feedlot cattle, whose meat often is laced with antibiotics. Beef from cows that are allowed to graze is lower in calories and fat and higher in omega-3 fatty acids. For its slightly higher grocery store price tag, at least grass-fed offers some quantifiable benefits.

To date, cloned meat has shown no such benefits. Perhaps down the line it will be practical to have of pens of cows with identical genes, but ultimately, it won't improve the condition of the pot roast sitting on our dinner table.

Setting aside the debate over the ethical soundness of cloning, currently, there is no reason to support the introduction of cloned meat into our food supply.

Megan Moser, Kansas State Collegian, 7/8/2007

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