Cloning

Cloning

To Market to Market to Buy a Cloned Pig
 
(written after the FDA in December 2006 decided to give the OK to food processors to not label cloned animal products)
 
The Food and Drug Administration wants to hear for the general public (You and Me) by April 2, if “WE” have an opinion on Cloned Animal meat, milk and cheese on our grocery store shelves or in our favorite restaurants.  Low response means No response and Corporate America decides what, when and how cloned animal products enter our food supply.
 
Right Now, our greatest (not our only) concern should be the HOW (with or without labeling).  Corporate America’s safety record has not just been hazardous to our health but down right deadly – black lung disease, agent orange, toxic shock syndrom, asbestos contamination, mad-cow disease, heavy metal toxicity, industrial induced cancers in employees, consumers and residents, etc.- plus, the revolving door between private industry and government agency regulators.
 
After five years of studies, the FDA is poised to allow industrial food suppliers to indiscriminately put cloned animal products on the market “without labeling”.
 
At the very minimum, labeling lets the consumer decide if they want to play “cloned animal roulette” with their family’s health.
 
Cloning is a science in its infancy, but it is not an exact science.  An egg and a sperm fails 80 to 100% of the times.  Cloning does not come close to Nature’s batting average.
 
Two journalists, Jenny Bryan and John Clare report in their book, ORGAN FARM, “… it has been estimated that just one or two percent of all the egg cells that are prepared for cloning actually end up as squirming, squeaking baby animals”.
 
They further state that, companies “want to clone pigs that carry human DNA which will … allow their organs to be used for animal-to-human transplants”.
 
Although some people in the biotech industry are motivated by noble intentions, are there safeguards against private companies dumping failed “experimental” cloned animals with human DNA in our food supply, especially when each cloned animal’s cost is in the tens of thousands of dollars?  Many if not all biotech exectives need to show their financial backers profits, the sooner the better.  Cloned pigs with human DNA need special regulations that do not seem to be currently in place.  A strong case for labeling?
 
Do we want to risk making our grocery stores, supermarkets and restaurants Super Fund Dumping sites, or worse and more probable, a pernicious source of unidentifiable, untraceable diseases due to lack of labeling, registration and tracking.  Rememger Mad Cow disease?  The British and the European Union do.
 
Bryan and Clare’s well balanced book concludes with, “We can leave the regulators to make the decisions on our behalf.  Or we can join the public debate that the experts say they are so keen to see.  It isn’t too late to be heard.  but it may soon be too late to affect scientific developments so enormous that the human race will never be quite the same again”.  (Remember the Love Canal; remember Dioxin in the Hudson River?)  Science and Technology is meeting corporate America again.
 
The Board Certified Environmnetal Medicine Pediatrician, Doris J. Rapp. MD, in her book OUR TOXIC WORLD states, “(By allowing) genetically engineered and irradiating products on the market without adequate proof of safety is incredible … the unsuspecting public is truly being subjected to forced human experimentation. … (and will) lead to many new types of illnesses in plants, animals and humans”.  Have you heard the recent news reports about bee populations disappearing with NO known explanation?
 
Dr. Rapp goes on to say, “We must unite in urging the government to clearly label all genetically altered and irradiated food products. … (labeling) allows those who are informed, aware or unsure, (to) avoid (products) if they desire to do so”.
 
Www.centerforfoodsafety.org urges each and every concerned  citizen to write, call or email the FDA Commissioner, Andrew Von Eschenbach with their opinions. concerns and demands for protection.
 
The Centere for Food Safety believes that at a minimum the “FDA should impose a legal ban in the sale of food from cloned animals until”
    1.    The Agency establishes a mandatory premarket review process, including independent and transparent long-term testing (with the burden of proof of safety on the clone developer to demonstrate food safety;
    2.    Animal cruelty issues from the frequent deformities and health problems of animal clones are technically resolved and animal clonig can meet the hightst standards for animal welfare;
    3.    Broad public discussions have resolved the unique ethical and moral issues raised by cloning; and
    4.    FDA has required labeling for all food from clones and their offspring, to protect consumer choice.
 
Doesn’t it make sense to err on the side of safety now, than to allow profiteers to lead us into a genetically engineered pandora’s box?
 
Although there are technical differences between cloning and genetic engineering, the dynamics of industry, lobbyists, legislators and government regulators are similar.
 
Carl Jensen reports in his book 20 YEARS OF CENSORED NEWS that “Susan Wright, a science historian at the University of Michigan charges … that genetic engineering is now (1996) proceeding rapidly without even the minimal controls established 20 years ago.  Following an intense lobbying effort by scientists in the late 1970’s rapid deregulation followed, and regulatory agencies already have allowed more than 2000 experimental releases of novel (new) plants and microbes”.
 
Can we give absolute freedom to the biotech industry managers, whose reputations, carees, corporate success hinges on deadlines, biased cost/benefit decisions and taking precarious chances with the health of the public at large?
 
If you are on the Internet, in a good book store or library, research what the insurance industry’s concerns and reactions are to cloned foods.
 
Jeremy Rifikin, a fellow at the Wharton School and author of THE BIOTECH CENTURY and THE AGE OF ACCESS, reports in the former book, “Increasingly nervous over the insurance question, one of the biotech trade associations attempted, early on to raise an insurance pool among its member organizations, but gave up when it failed to raise sufficient funds to make the pool operable”.  He goes on the make comparisons with the nuclear industry, that “successfully lobbied Congress for the passage of legislation – the Price Anderson Act – that would have the American taxpayers cover all claims beyond a specified amount pledged by the nation’s nuclear power companies.” 
 
The dangers of chemical technology are not just known but in our face, liver and lungs on a daily basis.  The dangers of nuclear technology are not just known but are held over our heads daily, locally  and globally like the sword of Damocles.  Some of the dangers of genetic pollution are known by the many cloning and genetic failures experienced up to now with so many more dangers not known.
 
Will our collective wisdom or personal greed win out in the current age of genetic research?
 
In Rifkin’s latter book he introduces us to the legal aspect of genetic technology.  “In 1990, the California Supreme Court ruled against John More (an Alaskan businessman who discovered that his own body parts had been patented without his kinowledge or consent) holding that he had no property right over his own body tissues.  Still, the court upheld the primary clsim of the university that the cell line itself, while not the physical property of Moore, could justifiably be claimed as the intellectual property of UCLA.”  Rifkin further states, “Patents on human genes and cells are becoming commonplace”.
 
There was a time in America when we had personal sovereignty.  There was a time when things in nature could not be patented.  Times are changing and in the 21st Century change is accelerating. 
 
We need to have our voices heard by government and by industry.  We need to not just stand up for choice in the market place through labeling but transparency in our laws and regulations to avoid bieng in a position like John Moore or the People of Iceland.
 
Rifkin also reported that the Iceland “government signed a $200 million agreemnent in 1999 with a pharmaceutical company … to screen the genes of all 270,000 Icelanders in the hope of finding useful genes and genetic predispositions that might prove helpful in research and be commercially baluable in the creation of new gene products.  In the future, if Icelanders went to use either the genetic information or products that result from the research, they will have to pay a fee to the company for the right to access their own genetic heritage”.
 
 
 
When asked what kind of government we have, Benjamin Franklin said “You have a Republic, if you can keep it”.
 
If the population of a Republic does not participate in their government gy self education, communicating with elected officials and regulatory agencies, maintaining a free and open press, setting up watchdog organizations and by voting, then they risk waking up one morning and finding out they live in an oligarchy or maybe something worse. 
 
Have we as a Nation been unwittingly desensitized to modern terminology of rthe biotech industry – cloning,genetic engineering, recombinant, trans-genic tramsplants?
 
Dolly, the poster lamb for cloning, was created in 1997.  She suffered from premature arthritis (normally a metabolic disease) and lung disease which caused her to be euthanized at the age of 6, about half the expected life span of non-cloned sheep.
when we learn the facts behind the buzz words and celebrities like Dolly, thsy tend to loose some of their glamor and get de-hyped.
 
The foor of communication is open eith the FDA.  Please write, call or e-mail at their web site or through the Center for Food Safety or other watch dog agency’s beb site.  The door closes April 2.  Please act now, tell all your friends, relatives and associates and stay educated on all important health, safety and personal-choice issues.  I thank you on behalf of your grandchildren.
 
 
 
FDA’s contact information:    email:  at the FDA web site    www.fda.gov    phone:  888-info-fda
 
address:    Food and Drug Administration
                Division of Dockets    Management (HFA – 305)
                5630 Fishers Lane    room 1060
                Rodkvill, MD  20852
 
Prepared by:    Frank Schaller