Monday, March 5, 2007

Tell FDA: No Food From Cloned Animals!

The FDA has a poor track record in evaluating the science of animal cloning. In 2003, the agency released a draft assessment that was widely heralded as demonstrating the safety of cloned food; yet this assessment relied on a single industry- sponsored study of cloned milk. The agency's latest assessment claims that no issues in food from animal clones were found, yet among the few new studies cited, several reported troubling results.

Among the studies, published just this month, one found a failure rate in animal cloning of over 90%, with over 40% of "successful" clones suffering from disabling health problems leading to early death.

Another found significant health differences in clones' offspring compared to normal animals. A third study found that healthy appearing clones are often physiologically different than normal animals, and concluded that food from clones should not be marketed without further research. The National Academy of Sciences has said that there is not enough data to know if the hidden defects in clones could pose food safety risks.

Furthermore, surrogate (host) cows used to produce clones are often given massive doses of hormones, and to survive their early health problems, clones are often treated with high doses of antibiotics and other veterinary drugs. Commercialization of cloning would almost certainly increase levels of veterinary hormones and antibiotics in the human food supply, but FDA has failed to address the food safety issues of this increase in medicating food animals.

Perhaps even more troubling, FDA has ignored the animal cruelty issues inherent in cloning. Surrogate cows must be used to produce clones, and these surrogates suffer from high rates of late-term spontaneous abortion, early prenatal deaths, and grossly oversized calves, and often have severe pregnancy complications and caesarian births. Cloned offspring suffer from common defects such as enlarged tongues, squashed faces, intestinal blockages, immune deficiencies and diabetes. These are not unusual side-affects, but a certain inhumane cost of animal cloning.

read more (Center For Food Safety)