I couldn’t believe the headline when I first read it. Then, when I realized it was legitimate, my stomach literally turned over. It announced something I feel is not only unnatural, but potentially dangerous. I’ll add the caveat that I’m not a trained scientist but am reacting from purely a gut level.
I’ll also add that this blog post has absolutely nothing to do with massage therapy specifically—but as people concerned with health and health care, I feel it’s a topic worthy of discussion here. And we have the chance to take action (more on that below).
The headline read: “FDA Approves Sale of Meat and Milk from Cloned Animals.”
In the past few years we’ve already seen the identification and spread of “mad cow disease,” or bovine spongiform encephalopathy, outbreaks of E-coli and other bacterial outbreaks related to food safety, and the linking of meat consumption to heart disease and cancer.
Shouldn’t we be making our food supply safer, rather than allowing the cloning of farm animals?
According to the Web site of the Human Genome Project, this is what the actual process would look like:
“In a process called ‘somatic cell nuclear transfer’ (SCNT), scientists transfer genetic material from the nucleus of a donor adult cell to an egg whose nucleus, and thus its genetic material, has been removed. The reconstructed egg containing the DNA from a donor cell must be treated with chemicals or electric current in order to stimulate cell division. Once the cloned embryo reaches a suitable stage, it is transferred to the uterus of a female host where it continues to develop until birth.”
I’m already a stickler for grass-fed, organic beef and pork (on the two or three occasions per year that I eat it), and free-range chickens fed with organic meal. Otherwise, I’d be ingesting some level of hormones and other chemicals along with my hamburger or chicken enchilada.
I know that might make me sound like the quintessential Northern California health-food nut, but if it helps me remain healthy then I’m OK with that. Call me what you will. (And don’t even get me started on conventional vs. organic produce!)
What makes this cloning issue scariest, to me, is that packages of meat will not need to be labeled “cloned.” It’s a boon to factory farms everywhere, but seems like an issue health professionals might want to speak up against.
In my opinion, cloning any living thing for mass consumption is just wrong—in part because we don’t know what the long-term health effects might be from eating cloned food. In addition to swearing off meat completely (which I’m considering), there’s something else we can do.
The Center for Food Safety has a Clone-Free Pledge that anyone can sign. It will be sent on to food companies to tell them that we won’t purchase cloned food. As the center noted in a press release, “a recent Gallup Poll reported that more than 60 percent of Americans believe that it is immoral to clone animals.”
I’m one of those Americans. How about you?
Visit this site to sign the pledge: