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Better off cloned

Naila Dhanani: Embrace the potential benefits of cloning

Published: Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, July 25, 2012 20:07

Fifteen years after the birth of Dolly, the first mammal cloned from an adult cell, debates still arise over the practice of cloning, particularly regarding the safety of consuming cloned animal products.

Ordinary consumers should feel safe eating cloned products, no concern necessary.

“Livestock cloning has proven an effective means of improving animal health and overall livestock production in an efficient and sustainable manner,” according to a press release from ViaGen, an Austin-based livestock cloning lab.

ViaGen is spot on. The science of cloning has existed for decades, and it is completely reasonable to expect grocery stores to sell cloned meat for human consumption.

In January 2008, the U.S. became the first country to announce food from cloned animals is safe to consume.

Stephen F. Sundlof, director of the Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition in 2008, wrote in a 968-page risk assessment, “meat and milk from cattle, swine and goat clones are as safe as food we eat every day.”

No labels are used in distinguishing cloned products, as there are no differences to label.

“Consumers won’t be able to figure it out for themselves. No test distinguishes meat from a cloned animal from other meat,” said Sundlof, according to reports made by CNN.

We should not turn away from cloning technology. It has the ability to increase both the efficiency and quality of the products we consume and food production around the world.

Although the U.S. has no shortage of stock animals, there are reports of a shortage of high-quality meat and milk products. By cloning high-quality stock, each and every product is guaranteed to be of the highest quality.

“You can produce more feed-efficient animals and faster-growing animals and spread those genes rapidly through a population,” said ViaGen CEO Blake Russell. ”Cloning is a tool to feed the world.”

The head of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations Jacques Diouf said in 2009 that global food production will need to double by 2050 to meet demand from an increasing population.

These numbers have aroused calls for a second Green Revolution, an agricultural movement attributed to Norman Borlaug, winner of the 1970 Nobel Peace Prize for his contributions in increasing the world food supply.

Advances in food supply as it relates to cloned animal products should be at the forefront in meeting demand for meat and dairy products around the world —  both in developing countries and in the U.S.

“With the World Health Organization predicting a doubling of the world’s population by 2050, this technology and others like it should be made available to all producers as the global demand for animal products increases,” ViaGen said.

Cloning often has a stigma attached to it, yet cloned products are no different than the products we already consume.

Consuming cloned animal products may not be for everyone — some may find it unethical or unappetizing. Regardless, the science of cloning is here to stay, and its potential should be embraced.


Naila Dhanani is a junior biomedical sciences major and opinion editor for The Battalion

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