I have been thinking more about the prospect of eating cloned animals, which I first wrote about here, and I am not quite as sure about it as I was a few days ago. Clones appear to have biological problems. Or, at least, we don't know that they don't. The egg fertilization rate is very low. Many of the born fetuses die young. They are often born bigger than average, and may live shorter lives. Why? Scientists don't really seem to know. There are still a lot of uncertainties.
Why, then, the rush to approve their meat? How hard is the industry pushing for it? Can't we do a few more years of research to understand the nature of these pathologies?
For one thing, is it ethical to create an animal you know may have such problems?
For the other, do we really know enough about the biological roots of these issues to be declaring the meat healthy? It's difficult to tell from journalistic accounts like this one from the BBC, which mostly merely quotes the two different sides and doesn't provide a lot of insight into how the decisions are being made or on what basis. If food from clones is "essentially identical" to those of conventionally bred animals, why don't these animals lead equivalent lives?
Nonetheless, I expect the passive, stupid, ignorant, greedy American consumer, who say they are about two-thirds "uncomfortable" purchasing cloned meat, to immediately forget about their qualms and ignore the questions altogether.
Have you ever tried to ask your grocer about the genetic modification of their products? I asked one about four years ago, in New Hampshire, and they told me that none of the food they sold was genetically modified. I told that that was certainly not true, as most corn and soy sold in products on grocery store (even in 2004) shelves was GM. The manager seemed very surprised, and frankly I wasn't even sure he knew what I meant by "genetically modified."