Cloning Can Help Our Herds

It's reassuring that FDA found in their analysis what many other scientific bodies have found, including the National Academy of Sciences, that cloning produces safe meat and milk products. It's the same as many other reproductive technologies affecting animals. What you have to keep in mind is that cloning is just a method of duplication--clones are not transgenic animals of any kind. What you're trying to do is to propagate superior genetics, certain characteristics.

There's a lot of misconceptions out there about what this is and what this isn't. We're satisfied that the safety of the product has been reassured many times, including by FDA.

Nevertheless, consumer perception is something that we have to deal with because it affects the marketing of our products. If this technology has a severe adverse consumer reaction, our companies will adjust to that.

I've heard various numbers but there's probably a few hundred clones out there on farms and ranches today, being withheld on a voluntary moratorium. But our cattle herd is a upwards of a hundred million head.

They're very valuable items. It costs several hundred thousand dollars to clone animals, so you're not going to clone them to put meat in the case. As long as they're productive, they're going to stay in the herd.

This is not an imminent thing, as some stories have suggested, that you will see cloned meat on the shelves.

It is a reproduction tool that has an opportunity to introduce superior genetics into the livestock population. But it is the most recent of a number of reproductive technologies in the industry.

It's clearly been proven that it's a safe technology: FDA has reaffirmed that, the National Academy of Sciences has affirmed that. How consumers accept this technology has yet to be determined, and their reaction to this technology will also determine its success in the marketplace. So in other words, we're at the beginning.