Cloning Makes Meat and Milk Abundant

Ten years ago this week, scientists at Scotland’s Roslin Institute announced they had successfully cloned the first animal from an adult cell – a sheep named Dolly.  Animal clones are exact genetic copies of an existing animal – essentially an identical twin.  In the decade since Dolly’s introduction, animal cloning technology has advanced significantly.  Today, we are poised to utilize this technology to enhance food production, food security in developing countries, the health of farm animals and the safety of our food supply.  Cloning will also tackle the challenge of the extinction of wild animals like the giant panda.

Just two months ago, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) published a draft risk assessment that concluded that meat and milk products from animal clones and their offspring are safe for human consumption, and are no different from foods produced through other breeding methods.  While currently there are no known products from animal clones and their offspring on the market, in the future, consumers will benefit from a healthier, consistent, and more abundant meat and milk supply produced from animal cloning.  This is because animal cloning, as an assisted reproductive technology, allows farmers and ranchers to accelerate the reproduction of their most productive livestock.  Ultimately, this technology will be another tool for farmer and ranchers to raise healthier farm animals, and health animals produce healthy foods. 

Animal cloning has been rigorously studied for decades, and all studies have concluded that this technology is as safe as other assisted reproductive technologies.  Animal clones are as healthy as animals bred through other accepted techniques, including natural reproduction, embryo transfer, artificial insemination, and in vitro fertilization.  In fact, cloning techniques can improve the overall health and disease-resistance of animals because you are extending and preserving proven, superior genetics.