Saturday, January 19, 2008

Cloning is just creepy

Earlier this week, the FDA determined food derived from cloned livestock is safe. More than ever, am I glad my freezer is full of locally, humanely raised chicken, lamb and pork (and strawberries, greenbeans, corn and swiss chard. And yes, I know it needs defrosting.)

I don't know why the idea of cloned meat is so creepy -- after all, we clone plants (also known as propagation from cuttings) all the time. The idea of cloning animals for meat production, though, is just too Soylent Green for me to be comfortable with it, and I am concerned for the poor unfortunate animals whose cloning experience was unsuccessful. Dolly the sheep had multiple health issues which may --or may not -- have been linked to her cloned status, and birth defects are common in cloned animals.

Part of my unease stems from the FDA itself. After all, the FDA's record of late could use a little beefing up -- Vioxx and Avandia spring to mind.

All in all, this just gives me yet another reason to stay out of the supermarkets. We just received a yummy stash of porcine splendor from my pal who raised 2 pigs in his backyard. I'm really looking forward to pork chops, made the old-fashioned way.


Meg said...

I'm with you--cloned meat is creepy, gross, and unnatural. I'm all about science, but I don't get this. Why would it even be necessary? I understand that Monsanto or whoever is probably out to breed the ultimate beef cow, but hasn't good ol' selective breeding gotten us pretty good animals up to now?

I haven't eaten meat in years--because of the environmental impact the whole business has and because of all the junk that's in it--but I'll eat good, local, responsibly raised meat like you guys have stocked up on. It's great that you've got a friend who can hook you up!

Anonymous said...

What I just don't get about cloning is that it is really very expensive to do. I would think the "old fashioned way" would be a lot cheaper so would be the preferred way...and it is, actually. But the race to monocultures is just so insidiously endemic to industrial agriculture that most likely cloning will become both common and cheap.

And I just started eating meat again (after 16 years) because I finally had the alternative to humanely raised stuff...and my local eating thing has kind of taken over my life. SO. I made my first pork chop in probably 20 years and they were HEAVENLY. Considering the nasty shoe leather I grew up eating, it was a revelation. (Marinated in wine and garlic for a day, cooked in a cast-iron skillet under the broiler. Served with my sauerkraut and salad and apples.)


Ali said...

And the thing with cloning is that it presumes you have reached the ultimate animal, that there is NOTHING about the animal which could be improved upon in the next generation.

The local pork is divine. Try this simple marinade -- 1 cup buttermilk or milk with 1 t salt. Yum. I'm really curious about the sauerkraut, I'd love to try it, but honestly don't know where I'd be able to store a crock... At least we have a good kraut maker within 40 miles.

Tracy said...

Ali: I completely agree with you on cloning. I just don't understand the need or desire for it. Plus, who knows what unintended consequences we'll end up with in years to come? I really envy you your freezer. I'm trying to get Bill to read The Omnivore's Dilemma so I can convince him we really need a chest freezer. (I wish I were more convincing on my own, but I think after all this time of me ranting about local food, it seems I need an "official" third party to help me to convince him!)

Ali said...

Tracy, I LOVE our freezer, it is so nice to have for freezing the extra from the garden, or even from a CSA if you were in one.

It is not as efficient as a chest freezer, but since we bought it used for $20, I am ok with that. It sits in our unheated shed, which also keeps the cost of running it lower during the winter months, when nature lends a hand.

Maybe you can go and see MP some time when he's on tour, I understand he is making the rounds... that might convince Bill.