Brazil has announced that scientists within the nation will soon start cloning endangered animals, ultimately seeking to release them back into the wild to increase population.
I’ve covered a great deal of stories surrounding the act of cloning, biotechnology, and a multitude of topics in between. What is truly amazing to see is just how fast many scientists are able to bypass the entire ethics debate regarding cloning and push it through by propping up a universally accepted issue. In this case, the issue regarding the rapidly declining number of endangered animals in Brazil.
Ethical concerns that have been brought up by major scientific groups and individuals.
Back when scientists from Oregon Health and Science University in the United States went and created genetically modified monkeys using cells from 6 different animals, it led to massive outcry. The British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection (BUAV) and other institutions spoke out to the media and other scientific communities, characterizing the event as ‘deeply disturbing’ and downright unethical. In a summary provided to the media, the organization’s lead scientific consultant Dr. Jarrod Bailey explained in a quote how the research:
“Raises enormous ethical concerns and imposes a heavy welfare burden, resulting in severe suffering to many animals”
Now, the Brazilian government is seeking to clone populations of endangered animals such as the jaguar, wolf, or even the local deer. Known as Embrapa Cerrado, the government-run animal research organization is partnering up with Barzil’s Brasilia Zoo to complete the project. While not immediately being released into the wild, where it would breed with other non-cloned animals and alter the genetic coding of all future animals, the government plans to do so in the future. As RawStory reports, the cloned animals could be released over time.
The news comes just days after the report detailing the release of millions of mosquitoes worldwide with even more set to be unleashed in the near future – all without a proper risk assessment.
Eating Cloned Meat? USDA Says ‘No Idea’
Brazil, the top producer of beef, has also cloned cows within its borders. According to Embrapa Cerrado employee and researcher Carlos Frederico Martins, the government clones such farm animals to improve ‘desirable characteristics and efficiency’. The statement brings to mind an admission made by the USDA, in which the organization openly stated it ‘did not know’ whether or not citizens were eating meat made from cloned animals.
The introduction of even more cloned animals into the food supply could prove to be even more of an issue when it comes to knowing what you’re eating. It is also more than likely that the FDA and USDA will claim that cloned meat, just like genetically modified organisms, are the ‘exact same’ as natural and organic products. The cloning issue is not just an ethical debate, but it is an issue of personal and public health. With the USDA already clueless as to whether or not you are chowing down on cloned beef, a whole new wave of cloned animals thrown into the mix will create the perfect agricultural storm.