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Scientists have cloned several animals in the past. Now that cloning technology is advancing, especially in farm animals, its very likely that it will be used for industrial meat ans dairy production. Cloning animals for food is a very expensive process. The animals that are cloned most likely will not be slaughtered but used to produce offspring.
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Is Cloned Food Safe?
The FDA announced in 2008 that the meat and milk from cloned animals is safe to eat. Although there is a ban on the use of cloned animals in any type of phase of food production, there is not a ban to use cloned animals offspring.
With many consumers opposed to eating meat and dairy from cloned animals, the introduction to actually selling the products of cloned animals is going to be hard. In 2007, 150,000 people wrote to oppose the introduction of selling cloned animal's meats and dairy products to the food supply.
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Are Cloned Animals the Same?
There still has not been an adequate amount of research to reassure consumers that a cloned animal can supply the same, safe product as a naturally born animal. Scientists believe that cloned animals are more likely to become sick than animals that are born naturally. This results in a higher amount of antibiotics and other medical interventions that are having to be used. There have been imbalances in the clone’s protein, hormone, and fat levels. This could affect the quality of the animals milk or meat.
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Does Cloning Have An Effect on the Animals?
When an animal is cloned, both the sick and deformed clones and their surrogate parents are put through unneeded suffering. The cloned animals have more problems during childbirth. This causes higher rates of spontaneous abortion and death among host mothers. Severe physical deformities cloned animals have been noted by scientists. Some of these deformities include: over-sized navels, oddly-shaped heads, immune deficiencies, diabetes, heart and lung damage, kidney failure, brain irregularities, and malformed arteries. The cloning success rates in 2007 were as low as 10 percent.
If a cloned animal does survive and make it through their first six months of life, the FDA states that the animal is healthy. Although the FDA states the animal is healthy, problems with cloned animals occurred up to 15 month of age. If cloning animals for food, the animal should be in its healthiest state.
The long-term animal, human, and environmental health impacts of breeding programs based on clones remain unknown. The programs do show a direct opposition to the principals of the Precautionary Principle. The Precautionary Principle proposes that new technology will be proven safe before it is widely introduced.
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The Center for Food Safety: Cloned Animals - www.foodsafetynow.org/cloned_animals.cfm
FMI Backgrounder: Food From Cloned Animals - www.fmi.org/docs/media/bg/Cloning_backgrounder.pdf
Food Standards Agency: Cloned Animals Research Report - www.food.gov.uk/news/newsarchive/2008/jun/clone