Is Clone Meat Labeling Necessary? By Grant Goolsby

Cloned meat was approved for human consumption without the requirement of being labeled as “cloned meat” in 2008. Cloning animals in a laboratory has been done since 1996, when the animal known as Dolly the sheep was successfully cloned. Dolly was cloned in Scotland and was the first attempt at cloning by Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer. Dolly made history and is the most famous cloned animal ever.

Cloning has been done in nature for ages by the splitting of an embryo, which would be known as a twin. Cloning in a laboratory is done in two ways. One is by using the natural method of cloning, but doing it in a petri dish. This makes multiple copies of a combination of the parents. In other words, this is manmade identical twins, triplets, etc. The second method of cloning is explained by Learn.Genetics as Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer. The site states, “To make Dolly, researchers isolated a somatic cell from an adult female sheep. Next they removed the nucleus and all of its DNA from an egg cell. Then they transferred the nucleus from the somatic cell to the egg cell. After a couple of chemical tweaks, the egg cell, with its new nucleus, was behaving just like a freshly fertilized egg. It developed into an embryo, which was implanted into a surrogate mother and carried to term.”(What is Cloning, par. 6)

Simply put, one form of cloning makes multiple exact offspring of two parents and another makes an exact offspring of one animal. The argument that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) makes on why cloned meat is safe is that it is an exact copy of a normal animal. They came to this answer over a time period of twelve years, which is a very considerable time that is given to the study of one process. In respect for all citizens that may advocate against cloning, the FDA has published an article defending the reasoning of their step-by-step analysis on cloning. They make clear that the FDA was instituted for scientific reasons, to ensure the safety of food and drugs, but still provide reasoning for their ruling in support of the people.(“Response to Cloning,” sec. 5-6)

The US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health argues that, “Cloning may cause long term health defects, a study by French scientists has suggested. A two-month-old calf, cloned from genes taken from the ear of an adult cow, died after developing blood and heart problems. The cloning process seemed to have interfered with the normal genetic functioning of the developing calf, according to the researchers whose findings are reported in the Lancet.”(Jones, par. 1)

One of the main reasons that Americans want clone meat to be labeled is because of how cloning can affect the animals. The fact that cloned animals are flooded with antibiotics before and at birth to keep them alive can be very alarming and possibly harmful to consumers. (“Response to Cloning,” sec. Comments of FDA’s conclusion on animal health) Normal births require little to no antibiotics. They are generally only required when a human has to assist in the delivery of an animal. In cloning, the process is unnatural, which causes the clone offspring to have low immune systems. Antibiotics are in most cases the only things that keep clones alive at birth.

One aspect of cloning in our society that many people do not consider when evaluating the effects of cloning on citizens is the moral beliefs of others. Many people may find that they do not believe in cloning because of their religion. Some say that cloning mocks God or whatever being they worship. Gallup, an online polling company, did a poll that showed out of four religions, an average of sixty-four percent believed cloning was morally unacceptable and half of those without a religion found cloning morally unacceptable. (Jones, tbl. 2) We distinguish beef from pork not just for our recipes, but also for religions such as the Jews, which choose not to eat pork as a part of their religion. Our country has strong religious people and should not choose any act or law that ignores the freedom of religion that is a right to our people.

The way that we should handle human rights is explained by Mary Ann Glendon, who states, “The proper course, it seems to me, is for church leaders and people of good will to make every effort to connect the human-rights project to an affirmation of the essential interplay between individual rights and democratic values.”(Glendon, par. 17)

I do not believe that cloning is necessarily bad to do, but I do believe that it is the responsibility of our government and its agencies to be a government “for the people,” as the constitution describes.  It is not wise for the FDA to ignore the lack of testing in the cloning industry. The FDA has specifically said they cannot approve sheep to not be labeled because of the lack of successful test performed for that animal. I have personally heard that we should label clones for our consumer rights. But, I have heard that it can cost business millions of dollars that do not need to be spent on labeling.

An extremely well known example of technology changing over time would be how the world thought of smoking before we realized the dangers in cigarettes. Smoking was considered good and even a healthy habit before the world realized that it was the main cause of lung and many other types of cancer, not to mention the other health issues that come with this addicting substance. This proves the knowledge we have about cloning can change drastically. But in the end, a clone is a clone. And a flaw has not happened so far.

 

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