After the huge hullabaloo earlier this week about the fact that a cloned cow has entered the food chain, this got me wondering ultimately how serious an issue this actually was.
Well it must have been seen by some to be very serious as almost immediately expert microbiologist Profession Hugh Pennington was wheeled out in front of the cameras – and when he is released onto our screens it generally means they are saying to us “look we’ve got a Professor for you, so take this issue really seriously…ok?”
Professor Pennington was thrust upon us to offer reassurance that it was “the word ‘clone’ that people don’t seem to like” and I can see where he is coming from as it is associated with things like Dr Who, Sci-Fi movies and circuses (lots of people suffer from Coulrophobia you know).
However, listening to all the other ‘experts’ who were stopped on the street and asked for their comments, I am not sure that Prof Hugh had hit the nail on the head with his summation, as I didn’t get the feeling that the first thing on everyone else’s mind was the way in which the word ‘clone’ was being used in this context.
However, Professor Pennington went on and told us, “This work is going on in the states where it’s quite legal. Nobody’s worried there about safety, and I’m not worried either.”
Well, thanks for that reassurance Prof Pennington – but I am not sure that just because Americans aren’t scared about cloning and see it as quite legal makes everything alright. Don’t forget this is the country where in certain states it is illegal to cry on the witness stand; to blaspheme and ironically in this case illegal to milk another man’s cow.
So I am not sure we should take our lead from our cousins over the pond on this matter.
However, having listened to the expect ‘Pennington’ telling me not to “panic” along with the many street experts who were all saying that for some reason this was against the will of God, ergo totally wrong, I started to come to my own very basic and non-scientific conclusion.
Why is it we seem to be worried about the cloned cow (its meat and its milk) but we are not worried one little bit about the cow that it was cloned from being in the food chain? Is this not something of a contradiction in terms?
You see if you clone something, then according to Dictionary.com it states that a clone is: “a cell, cell product, or organism that is genetically identical to the unit or individual from which it was derived”, so would that not mean that if there was no problems with the first donor cow [if they have done their work properly] then there should be no problems with the second (cloned) cow.
So what then is the big fuss about the cloned cows milk or meat getting into the food chain?
I could see the big issue if the cow they were cloning from was riddled with disease – but on the basis that even with my basis understanding of science and biology, an animal such as this probably wouldn’t be an ideal candidate to clone from – that would be the human equivalent of selecting Michelle McManus or Katie Price as your donor. So I am guessing they would have used a pretty healthy bovine creature to grow a brother, sister or whatever you would call it in a test-tube.
So on this basis, let’s just calm the argument a bit for the meantime. This is science at its best.
I mean think of the advantages in this whole clone-gate affair. If we are now at the stage of cloning the perfect milk-producing cow; I am sure that we are only a fraction away from me finally getting my dream and having a cow that actually produced fresh strawberry flavoured milk.
Just think we could have these ultimate cloned cows all across the country; acres of pink, yellow, brown and white cows divided into fields and categorised by their flavours. Who knows, Phase 2 could be the production of flavoured Mr Whippy type ice-cream in winter time.
So I say, if we are now at a stage cloning the almost perfect cows, it brings me to my closing point…what’s the problem?
The benefits of fresh flavoured milk by far outweighs any potential risks which may be associated with cloning these beasts. Let us all just focus more on the positives and put the negatives to the back of our mind for the next lets say, few decades.
Therefore as Professor Pennington says, “Don’t panic!!!” there’s flavoured milk to be developed.