Red Shoulder Hawk

Red Shoulder Hawk

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Is cloned meat sustainable?

Meat and milk from cloned cows has been deemed "equivalent" to what you get from a normal cow. Study leader Xiangzhong Yang, director of the Center for Regenerative Biology at the University of Connecticut, has already helped form a company to spread the technology to developing countries. Yang believes high-producing clones can help poor farmers.

That's good, because here in the US we overproduce milk and meat, using our 20th century techniques. We can see what a "boon" this overproduction is: food that gets thrown out, rampant obesity, animal feed made from the slurry of other animals, vast areas of land devoted to supporting growing animals. So by all means, yes, let's take something that's as natural as Nature, namely raising baby animals from adult animals, and add a heaping dose of21st century technology on it and export it so that "poor farmers" will become enslaved to our machinations, rather than being stewards of the land.

Man, I have to figure out how to write shorter sentences.

Sustainability isn't a rejection of technology, but it does require a careful assessment of the future impact of the technology. Cloning might have a justifiable use, but to use it so that all your chickens mature at the same time, or your cow has the same marbled flesh as the donor cow, those seem like negative returns compared against the robustness of learning how to support more natural methods.

Ready to be a vegetarian, or is the prospect of biting into a cloneburger appetizing?

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