In a finding that must be a real surprise, the Center for Regenerative Biology at the University of Connecticut has concluded that milk and meat from cloned animals is nearly identical to meat and milk from animals produced the old fashioned way.
Currently the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has asked the food industry not to sell meat or milk from cloned animals until it can analyze the safety considerations.
The University of Connecticut research found that the meat from cloned cows contained higher levels of fat and fatty acids but at levels that were still within accepted ranges by the beef industry.
Analysis of milk from cloned animals had similar findings. Researcher Jerry Yang said the results indicated that the genes of cloned animals function as they do in non-cloned animals. Yang told the BBC,
The production of each milk protein constituent involves the elaborate regulatory function of many proteins and enzymes, and any abnormal gene expression would likely be reflected by imbalances in the constituents of milk.
These findings are consistent with two other studies published in the journal Cloning & Stem Cells in 2004 which also found that milk and meat from cloned animals were nearly identical to that from non-cloned animals.
Still, skeptics abound. Compassion in World farming director Joyce D’Silva told the BBC,
We don’t know what this technology will result in in the future; we know so far that it is unsustainable. Huge numbers of animals die. They are born with deformed lungs, hearts and kidneys which don’t function. They die slow and lingering deaths. Is this the technology that we need or want? I don’t think so.
Well, of course we don’t know what the future will bring, so we should simply ignore any technology that we lack perfect information about. That’s the animal rights way. If you don’t know something, then the last thing you want to do is emerge from ignorance.
Produce from cloned cattle ‘safe’. The BBC, April 12, 2005.
Study: Cloned Meat, Milk Nearly the Same. Associated Press, April 11, 2005.