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Cloned meat? 'Yuck factor' prevails

The Associated Press, among other news agencies, ran a story Thursday on the Food and Drug Administration's impending decision to approve meat and dairy products from animal clones for sale on American supermarket shelves.

Let's clarify: the products of concern include meat and milk from the offspring of a cloned mammal (for example, a clone of a cow yielding a lot of milk or a pig that fattens quickly).

Cloned dairy cows

Bloggers' early responses can be summed up by what professional ethicists call the "yuck factor." The consensus seems to be that eating the meat of animal clones would be viscerally revolting, for a variety of reasons.

And blogger after blogger, no matter their interest in meat, raised two red flags: (1) Is the FDA in industry's pocket, making decisions based on scanty research and speculative findings? And (2) Does the government agency have the best interest of consumers in mind when it chooses not to label genetically modified organisms (GMOs) or GMO products as such?

Many also called for swift consumer response to the FDA ruling, reminding readers that while the decision has been made, an official ruling will not come until after a three-month period of citizen feedback.

Blog community response:

"My problem is not that I am 'uncomfortable' with cloned livestock, but I am extremely uncomfortable with an agency that has a longstanding relationship of preferring corporate desires over what is good for the people, as seen by making the decision that I don't have the right to know what I am eating."
--Thoughts of an Average Woman

"If these were indeed clones in the purest sense of the word, produced in unquestionable circumstances, in an industry that did not already have several unsettling and dysfunctional features...then there would be no issue. There are claims--backed up with documentation--that the cloned animals are not produced in a manner that would be acceptable for the production of animals by other means--there are still many deaths and deformities in the process, and these birth defects are still not fully understood. "

"Informed consent is still the magnetic north that pulls our collective moral compass. It is, after all, the sole distinction between sex and rape, boxing and felony assault, surgeons and Josef Mengele. So when some (misguided authorities) decide that food labeling isn't necessary (or is even illegal, in the case of recombinant bovine growth hormone), it takes away our ability to be informed and therefore to consent."
--Tantric Duck Fat