Animal Cloning and Food: More Than a Feeling

Some say biotech entrepreneurs and food producers are going too far with cloning.

By + More

Cloned animals are more and more becoming parts of our everyday lives, the Wall Street Journal reports:

Don Coover, a veterinarian, rancher and owner of SEK Genetics in Galesburg, Kan., estimated that "hundreds, maybe thousands, of offspring of clones" of beef cattle already exist in the U.S.—though that is a fraction of the nation's 97 million head of cattle. He said he has sold about 30 offspring of clones to be slaughtered for food.

Reason to panic? Some people aren't thrilled:

"As a mom of two young children, it makes me very uneasy, very nervous that these things are in the food supply," said Alexis Joyce, a 35-year-old homemaker in Arlington, Va., who shops mostly at farmers' markets. "It just doesn't feel right."

I find this quote fascinating. I think it's a perfect example of the sentiments behind the opposition to cloning and the larger issue of genetically modified food: "It doesn't feel right." The Food and Drug Administration has found food products from the offspring of cloned animals to be safe, and I know of no compelling scientific data to cast doubt on that ruling. But for some people, the issue isn't what the science says—it's about the "ick" factor that surrounds cloning.

But should regulation be forced onto the biotech industry—one of the most vital entrepreneurial sectors today—on the basis of a hunch?