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RE: [Odairy] Can You Clone an Organic Cow?

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  • Johnny Stansell
    Isn t a clone the same as an identicle twin? All identicle twins are just a little bit different in nature. There is no manipulation or anything added to
    Message 1 of 7 , Dec 29, 2006
      Isn't a clone the same as an identicle twin?  All identicle twins are just a little bit different in nature.  There is no manipulation or anything added to clones as in GMO.  Looks like GMO plants would pose a greater potential risk.  I think the negative perception of it all scares people. Yes sometime there are problems in clones development,  just like any embryo natural or not trying to develop. Just curious.
      Johnny Stansell

      H Karreman <penndutch@...> wrote:
      Kathie and Joe,
      Good points. I would suspect that cloned animals would be the registered type, at least the first round. And/or the makers of the cloning process would be interested in protecting their patent products (living beings - yikes!) like Monsanto's GMO seeds. They would therefore be very "protective" of cloned animals and what happens with them and keep very close track of them. But who knows - just like GMO pollen released in the wild, what about potential GMO AI semen? Live progeny could also be a problem, unless we get the last third of gestation passed *at this time* (prior to introduction of cloned animals). Now I *am* a definite believer in the last third of gestation, for sure. I've had my doubts of "the last third of gestation" due to health care concerns and the it being baseless in general biological terms, but if they let this genie out of the bottle, basic biology will be altered irrevocably.
      Nothing I *ever* say or do is representative of the NOSB, except if there is a publically convened meeting and I am at the table as a member of the Board.
      ----- Original Message -----
      Sent: 12/29/2006 4:23:50 PM
      Subject: RE: [Odairy] Can You Clone an Organic Cow?

      Jim, Kathie, et al

      I wrote a quick legal interpretation of this a while back. It should be posted on the front of the Center for Food Safety's website. I also discussed this issue with Keith Jones at the NOP who confirmed that the regulations prohibited use of cloned animals. The tougher question is progeny of clones. I would say because that progeny would not exist but for the "excluded method" of cloning then progeny should also be prohibited.

      Joe Mendelson

      ____________ _________ _________ __

      From: Odairy@yahoogroups. com on behalf of Kathie Arnold
      Sent: Fri 12/29/2006 3:40 PM
      To: Odairy@yahoogroups. com
      Subject: Re: [Odairy] Can You Clone an Organic Cow?


      Thanks so much for gathering and assessing the information on livestock
      cloning and for addressing the question of whether it could be used or
      not under current NOP standards. It seems clear from your discussion
      that it could not be used with certified organic livestock (thankfully) .
      However, the risk does remain to our industry that cloned dairy animals
      or their offspring could be transitioned to organic.

      Thanks for all your work on this.


      On Fri, 29 Dec 2006 13:36:20 -0600 Jim Riddle <jriddle@hbci. com> writes:
      > Can You Clone an Organic Cow?
      > By Jim Riddle
      > On December 28, 2006, the Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) at
      > the
      > US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a Draft Risk Assessment
      > on
      > meat and milk from cloned animals.
      > The FDA concluded that animal cloning, or somatic cell nuclear
      > transfer
      > (SCNT), "results in an increased frequency of health risks to
      > animals
      > involved in the cloning process." The CVM found that, "surrogate
      > dams
      > are at risk of complications from birth" and "the frequency of live
      > normal births appears to be low, although the situation appears to
      > be
      > improving as the technology matures."
      > Despite the documented negative impacts on animal health, the CVM
      > concluded that, "extensive evaluation of the available data has not
      > identified any food consumption risks or subtle hazards in healthy
      > clones of cattle, swine, or goats. Thus, edible products from
      > healthy
      > clones that meet existing requirements for meat and milk in commerce
      > pose no increased food consumption risk(s) relative to comparable
      > products from sexually-derived animals."
      > In sum, the CVM concluded that meat and milk from healthy cloned
      > animals are "virtually indistinguishable" from meat and milk from
      > non-cloned animals with no "biologically significant" differences in
      > composition.
      > Impacts on Organic Agriculture
      > According to the FDA report, one of the initial technical steps in
      > animal cloning is cell fusion. DNA is transferred from one cell to
      > another. As such, the practice is prohibited in organic production
      > under the National Organic Program (NOP) regulation as an "excluded
      > method."
      > Excluded methods, which are not allowed in organic production or
      > processing, are defined as, "a variety of methods used to
      > genetically
      > modify organisms or influence their growth and development by means
      > that are not possible under natural conditions or processes and are
      > not
      > considered compatible with organic production. Such methods include
      > cell fusion..."
      > Animal cloning is not allowed for organic production under the NOP
      > for
      > several reasons. Since cloning relies on cell fusion, it is
      > explicitly
      > prohibited in organic production. Clearly, it is not possible under
      > natural conditions. It is not considered compatible with organic
      > production, since cloning narrows the gene base, while organic
      > production relies on maintenance of a broad and diverse gene pool.
      > In addition, cloning is dependent on the use of artificial hormones
      > to
      > induce labor of surrogate dams. The use of artificial hormones to
      > induce labor is prohibited in organic agriculture.
      > Animal Husbandry Issues
      > During cloning, an animal's DNA is inserted into an egg, where the
      > DNA
      > has been removed. The resulting embryo is implanted into a surrogate
      > mother, where it forms a genetically identical copy of the original
      > animal.
      > But even if two animals have identical genes, they can turn out
      > differently if those genes are turned on or off at different times,
      > or
      > are sequenced differently from the original sequence. These
      > unpredictable genetic variations are linked to the high failure rate
      > of
      > cloned animals. Many clones die during gestation or shortly after
      > birth, while some are born with deformed heads or limbs or problems
      > with their hearts, lungs or other organs.
      > In its report, the FDA admits animal health problems, by stating
      > that
      > "some animals involved in the cloning process (i.e., cattle and
      > sheep
      > surrogate dams, and some clones) are at increased risk of adverse
      > health outcomes relative to conventional animals." "Cows and ewes
      > used
      > as surrogate dams for SCNT-derived pregnancies appear to be at
      > increased risk of late gestational complications. " "There is an
      > increased risk of mortality and morbidity in perinatal calf and lamb
      > clones."
      > The NOP regulation requires organic livestock producers to establish
      > and maintain preventative livestock health care practices and
      > accommodate the health and natural behavior of the animals. Breeding
      > practices, such as cloning, that result in "adverse health
      > outcomes,"
      > "increased risks of late gestation complications, " and "increased
      > risks
      > of mortality and morbidity" do not meet the NOP's proactive health
      > care
      > requirements.
      > Unlabeled Clones and the Organic Market
      > While the CVM report concludes that livestock products from healthy
      > clones are likely to be safe for human consumption, the FDA has not
      > ruled on whether or not cloned animals and their products will need
      > to
      > be tracked and labeled.
      > At a minimum, there should be mandatory tracking and labeling of
      > cloned
      > animals and animal products as:
      > * The best way to prevent entry of cloned animals and their
      > products
      > into the organic food system;
      > * The only way to conduct long-term epidemiological studies;
      > * The only way determine with any level of certainty the
      > effects on
      > human health;
      > * The best way to protect consumer confidence in the food
      > system;
      > * The only way to protect consumers' rights to know about the
      > foods
      > they consume; and
      > * The best way to protect the interests of conventional
      > livestock
      > producers, who are likely to suffer negative economic impacts from
      > un-segregated products, similar to what has happened with losses
      > related to un-segregated GMO rice.
      > Introduction of Experimental Technology
      > While cloning may prove to be a benign technology in the long run,
      > there is no shortage of highly productive breeds and lines of
      > livestock. There is no shortage of meat or milk in the U.S. In fact,
      > meat and milk markets are often depressed due to over-production.
      > This experimental technology introduces an inherent, and often
      > overlooked, danger - narrowing of the gene base. Biologically
      > speaking,
      > a species' survival is directly linked to genetic diversity. With a
      > broad and deep gene pool, a species, whether wild or domesticated,
      > is
      > better positioned to adapt to new disease threats and environmental
      > changes. For instance, a species with a narrow gene pool can
      > collapse
      > when animals encounter unanticipated diseases.
      > The FDA report states, "The Center assumes that if clones were to
      > pose
      > food consumption risks, the only mechanism by which those risks
      > could
      > arise would be from inappropriate epigenetic reprogramming. .." Despite
      > the fact that many cloned animals die during gestation or develop
      > abnormally due to a misarranged genetic code, the FDA assumes that
      > only
      > those animals which appear to be healthy and normal would enter the
      > human food chain, since they are "virtually indistinguishable. "
      > The report goes on to state that animal clones can develop with
      > apparently normal functions, but with subtle sub-clinical
      > physiological
      > anomalies. "These could include alterations in key proteins
      > affecting
      > the nutritional content of food and leading to dietary imbalances."
      > Because these animals appear to be normal, their products would find
      > their way into the human food supply. Tracking of cloned animals is
      > imperative for products from animals with sub-clinical anomalies to
      > be
      > identified and studied.
      > The concept of cloned animals and their products being "virtually
      > indistinguishable, " is similar the doctrine of "substantial
      > equivalence, " used earlier by the FDA to justify the untracked and
      > unlabeled introduction of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). It
      > is
      > not a scientific standard. It is not even a rational standard, since
      > the products of these technologies are proprietary for the profit of
      > their developers. It is an economic and political conclusion
      > weighted
      > to the benefit of the technology companies and based on a favorable,
      > but flawed assumption - the similarity of appearance.
      > Who Gains from Unregulated Cloning?
      > In the short-term, the presence of unregulated and unlabeled meat
      > and
      > milk from cloned animals will help further differentiate organic
      > products from un-segregated conventional livestock products. This
      > will
      > likely result in more consumers purchasing organic products.
      > Corporations who control the technology and proprietary strains of
      > cloned animals will profit through increased dependence of farmers
      > on
      > proprietary sources of genetic material.
      > The absence of tracking or labeling protects technology companies
      > and
      > users of cloned animals from liability. Without traceability, the
      > determination of harm, should harm occur, is virtually impossible.
      > The Draft Risk Assessment does not address the potential economic
      > effects of allowing the unregulated use of animal cloning without
      > traceability or labeling. No other country has approved food from
      > cloned animals. Unlabeled introduction of cloning has the potential
      > to
      > seriously diminish consumer confidence, further depressing domestic
      > and
      > export markets for conventional livestock products.
      > A December 2006 poll by the Pew Initiative on Food and Biotechnology
      > found that 64 percent of consumers said they were uncomfortable with
      > animal cloning, with 46 percent saying they were "strongly
      > uncomfortable. " Likewise, an online poll conducted by the
      > Minneapolis
      > Star Tribune immediately after FDA's announcement found that 60% of
      > respondents said that they would not eat food products from cloned
      > animals.
      > Prior to full approval, a comprehensive economic impact analysis
      > must
      > be conducted to examine the technology's impacts on existing markets
      > for conventional and organic livestock products.
      > (Attached version should retain footnotes.)

      Kathie Arnold
      Twin Oaks Dairy LLC
      3175 State Route 13
      Truxton, NY 13158

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