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Farmers oppose cloning for food.

BARRE - The state chapter of the Northeast Organic Farming Association has taken a dim view of the Food and Drug Administration's decision to approve using cloned animals for milk production and meat.

Jack Kittredge, NOFA/Massachusetts social action coordinator said, "We are concerned because cloning inflicts needless pain and suffering upon the animals, imposes health risks on the human consumer, diminishes livestock biodiversity, and represents the failure of a key regulatory body to protect the public instead of private interests."

Animal cloning technology has existed since 1997, when a sheep named Dolly was created from a Finn Dorset sheep's mammary gland cell at the Roslin Institute in Scotland.

Citing a record of deformed animals produced from cloning, Mr. Kittredge urged a cautionary approach, saying, "Reproductive cloning is a very new technology and is still poorly understood. Given this uncertainty and the very short time period during which clones have even been available to study, it is irresponsible to determine that cloned animals pose no significant risk to the food supply."

Mr. Kittredge cited the Irish potato famine and the 1970 U.S. corn blight as examples of genetic uniformity that should be avoided, and labeled the FDA decision a regulatory failure.

The organic farmer emphasized that the FDA's willingness to put cloned food on the market leaves consumers with only one way to avoid genetically modified or cloned food products.

"Local, organic food is not produced this way. Organic regulations prevent recombinant cloning and require organic parentage of most livestock. Farmers markets, farm stands, farm share-owning and other arrangements enable consumer and farmer to meet face-to-face, talk about farming methods, and share their concerns. Increasingly, consumers are going organic and returning to local farms as the best way to create an alternative, robust and informed food system in this country," he said.
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Title Annotation:LOCAL NEWS
Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Date:Jan 4, 2007
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