Monday, August 02, 2010

Odd offspring offering...

Related in a way to last weeks post (just below this one...been busy with athletics!) because it coincided with the first cloned fighting bull in Spain (NYT) Fundacion Valenicana de Investigacion Veterinaria called their calf 'Got'. But for how long will clones be 'odd' offspring. Logic and world population suggest it will soon become 'normal'.

Got Milk? Got cloned? Got bull (see what I did there?). 'Got Milk' is the US Dairy industry's advertising campaign created back in 1993 for the California Milk Processor Board to encourage the consumption of cow's milk and is arguably one of the most successful campaigns of all time. However, will the use of milk from cloned cows start to effect the consumption of, IMHO, one of the best all-round foods we can eat/drink? (a Nutrient-Rich Powerhouse!) Maybe, if today's news in the Guardian (and elsewhere) reporting from last week's International Herald Tribune that an unnamed farmer was selling milk from at least one cow bred from a cloned animal. The report has led to a flurry of activity because in the UK "meat and products from clones and their offspring are considered novel foods and would therefore need to be authorised before being placed on the market", or at least that's how the Food Standards Agency interprets it (in the USA in 2008 the FDA 'declared that food from cloned cattle, pigs, goats and their progeny was safe to eat')

Just to some things in perspective: the Guardian report states that,
"Cloned farming methods can create large cows capable of producing 70 pints of milk a day – around 30% to 40% more than conventionally bred cows."
Ooooh. Ahhh. Agggh. Rubbish, "large"...what, larger than normal? 70 pints a day when there are thousands of complete herds of 'normal' cows throughout the world where average production is between 60 and 80 pints a day? Cows that have been bred and cross-bred to gain the best characteristics (as have nearly all farmed species of animal and crop)...more milk, more meat, more grain. In fact the average milk production of the entire US herd is about 50 pints a day so what they really mean is 'cloned cows could produce more than average'. Fine, but you - the powers that be in the UK and the EU - need to decide one way or the other very soon. In Switzerland several hundred cattle that are second or third generation descendants of clones are in the national herd. Got Milk of not?

P.S. Yes, I know there are far more 'white-tash' modern and sexier pictures of that campaign that I could have used!

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