Did you read this week's New York Times' expose about the U.S. Meat Animal Research Center's experiments to help the meat industry make animals more "profitable"? The Center's experiments, funded by our tax dollars, combine the worst of factory farming with the worst of animal research. And the cruelty, which horrifies even veterinarians, is to help private industry, Big Meat, with public funds. What?
Brave New World-like experiments on farm animals are not limited to the U.S.
Meat Animal Research Center. Scientists at the Roslin Institute in Scotland where Dolly the cloned sheep was created, have spent years creating chickens that can be used as "biofactories" to make interferon. "Once you've made the transgenic birds, then it's very easy," enthused scientist Helen Sang, PhD in a press report. "You can breed up hundreds of birds from one cockerel--because they can be bred with hundreds of hens and you can collect an egg a day and have hundreds of chicks in no time."
Researchers from Harvard Medical School, the University of Missouri and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center have concocted "white piglets with muscle tissue larded with omega-3 fatty acids," reported the New York Times a few years ago. They modified a roundworm enzyme that converts omega-6, to omega-3, injected the gene into mouse embryos to create mice that make their own omega-3 and transferred the genetic material into pigs.
"People can continue to eat their junk food," said Harvard's Alexander Leaf, MD. "You won't have to change your diet, but you will be getting what you need." Aren't animals great?
And then there's clones. Most U.S. food consumers don't think they are eating clones but a Whole Foods executive begs to differ. Margaret Wittenberg, Global Vice President of Quality Standards, Whole Foods Market told the BBC, "You don't hear about it in the media. And when you do tell people about it they look at you and say 'you're kidding! They're not doing that are they? Why would they?'"
Like the experiments revealed in the New York Times expose, cloning kills more animals than it creates. Up to 90 percent of cloned offspring die or are born with deformities like enlarged umbilical cords, respiratory distress, heart and intestine problems and Large Offspring Syndrome (LOS), the latter often killing the clone and its "mother," the surrogate animal implanted with the embryo.
"The newborns tend to be large for their breeds, and often have abnormal or poorly developed lungs, hearts, or other affected internal organs (liver and kidney) which makes it difficult for them to breathe or maintain normal circulation and metabolism," says an FDA report on cloning. "LOS newborns may appear to be edematous (fluid filled), and if they are to survive, often require significant veterinary intervention. Problems have also been noted in muscle and skeletal development of animals with LOS. These animals also often have difficulty regulating body temperature."