Tuesday, January 15, 2008

It is a decent question, after all!

In light of how most of the media readily available to us is quite sensationalized and effectively diverts our attentions from real pressing matters, I was delighted to find a bit of news in the most unlikely place. Maybe there is hope for the major conglomerates? (That's an entirely different matter all together.)

Yahoo News posted an article yesterday posing a really interesting question: "Would you eat meat or drink milk derived from cloned animals?" A simple question with a seemingly simple answer (either yes or no) but very profound within the context of our modern society. No longer the subject of science fiction and more accurately a subject of consumerism, cloning in any form is here to stay. We've come a long way, baby, from the days of splicing E. coli rings to create amino acids, proteins and other beneficial substances. Today we are creating sheep, cows, chickens in other words MEAT!

Don't worry, the FDA last year declared that meat goods from cloned animals are safe for consumption, but there is no way to test if something is desirable to eat. Or is there? I wouldn't get all excited or outraged over this subject just yet because according most of the scientists hard at work on the subject there are many wrinkles to iron out. For one, cloning (in its present form - described succinctly in the article) is still a high risk proposition. Mortality rates are still high. Second, each cloned animal successfully reared to maturity (read harvest) carries with it quite the price tag. You must remember that what mother nature provides for free we humans provide at a considerable retail mark-up! To say the least, the question seems more daunting than before.

So what do you think? Would you rather opt for Beef or iBeef??


3 talkin' trash:

Karen said...

I don't even like the idea of eating growth hormone produced foods, but I do. To a certain extent one could argue that Hormone produced food is unethical as well. With our mass consumption and mass waste I can see how they are looking for alternatives. Whats to say these clones wont be cancer producing either? How does this effect evolution? Have we already screwed up evolution with our farming practices? I know they already make clones of certain herbal remedies (you lucky Californians). I can't help but to think about the storm troopers in Star Wars. (Would I eat a storm trooper? No.) So to answer your question....maybe I would eat them if society made it affordable, government tested, and mass produced but until that day will come. No.

mason said...

i find simple-answer questions require more thought and more questions, and are, in the end, less black and white then they are made to appear. how does one say yes, if one is willing to eat i-beef, but not all i-beef? how does one consider the evolutionary variation from al naturale beef to i-beef in answering a yes or no question?

then there are questions of quality versus quantity...would i eat an i beef that is corn fed and in pasture, or an i-beef raised in a feed lot...how will the i-beef introduction effect the debate over animal cruelty and the vegetarian stance?

would i eat the i-beef? my answer is a conditional yes. my preference would be towards a version that is raised in a non-engineered environment...just as it is for non-cloned meat. i would pick a farm raised burger over mcdonald's any day, so why would i-beef be any different.

what would you do?

Mended Meanderer said...

First off both of your points made me do some more thinking on the subject. Albeit, I had to sleep on it but I tend to come up with my best ideas over a good night sleep. ;-)

So I think Karen raised a great point consuming hormones. I definitely do not believe this is something good in the long run. Also, I like Mason's preference being placed on consuming cloned or "i-beef" that is raised free-range. To this day I do not eat veal because of what I saw when I was younger. (That did even involve hormones or cloning.) I shudder to think of it.

So I think my answer to the question would also be a conditional YES. Of course the major conditions being that the cloned beasts were hormone free. The science of cloning doesn't concern me as much as scientists and food producers' obsession with making the "incredible hulk" of beef, poultry, etc. I think that's where the hormones come into play the most. They aren't satisfied that they are producing affordable meat well but they have to be the biggest and "the best."

Both of you correctly alluded that the question is muddled with more what ifs making it quite a gray issue!