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The UK’s new Big Food Worry. Cloned cows. Seriously.

Friday, January 12th, 2007 at 11:01 by Sue Stewart

It has been announced that there‚??s a calf in this country that bears the mark of the beast. Well, alright, the non-mark of the beast. Of cloning.

Sweet little Dundee Paradise - presumably not named Dundee Horror because any scar to her 6-week old psyche might turn her into a crazed, advertisement-style, udder-gun-pumping adult cow - But hang on…. That‚??s what they want.

Sweet little Dundee Paradise is apparently a step on the way to the dairy farmer‚??s Holy Grail (aka every supermarket‚??s crazed demand) - a super-cow that can produce 70 pints of milk a day. And there are already protests about the amount of milk cows are ‚??expected‚?? to produce (around 30 pints a day - and that‚??s based on figures from 1995!)

But that‚??s not the best/worst thing about this story. The really interesting thing about this story isn‚??t even that:

This calf wasn‚??t bred in this country. She was bred in the United States.

She isn‚??t a clone. She‚??s the daughter of a clone. She was conceived and produced naturally - well, as naturally as an experimental dairy cow can be. More of this later.

We don‚??t actually know where this calf is - the name Dundee Paradise seems like a give-away, but probably isn‚??t. Paris, Texas ain‚??t Paris, France y‚??all. It has been said that that her owner is ‚??a Midlands farmer‚??, though, and she‚??s a black and white Holstein cow. Well, that will help to narrow down the search.

Dundee Paradise‚??s arrival has inevitably been linked to Dolly The Sheep‚??s demise. Dolly was a clone and she died young. So did her cousin, Morag. Snuppy the cloned dog fared no better. One headline simply states ‚??Cloned animals die of disease‚??. And uncloned animals don‚??t? You don‚??t think that‚??s deliberately shepherding (cowherding?) the excitable to the cry, ‚??Disease? You mean like CJD? We‚??re all going to get cow‚??s diseases!‚??

Well, maybe. But not necessarily. I know compulsive burger munchers have a tendency to have heart attacks, but I don‚??t think it‚??s because the cow in their burger did.

Dundee Paradise wasn‚??t even a calf when she was brought over from the States. She was an embryo, one of five. We don‚??t know where the other four are, either.

Even DEFRA (aka Department for the Environment, Farming and Rural Affairs) may not know where they are. They may not even have known the embryos had been brought in. In a statement DEFRA have said they are ‚??investigating whether proper procedure was followed when the cow’s embryo was flown into the UK‚??. Really? That‚??s nice.

The Food Standards Agency admitted they knew nothing about the birth of the calf, but seem confident that there are no cloned animal products on sale.

No, the really interesting thing (if, like me, you have a twisted sense of what ‚??interesting‚?? actually is) is the reason why the FSA are so confident.

They say that anyone using cloned cows would need to comply with EU legislation (oh,god…) Specifically EU Novel Food regulations (please, I‚??m begging you - I‚??m trying to concentrate on cloning, here. Stop giving me so many pricks to kick against.).

They added that anyone attempting to sell meat or milk from cloned animals or their offspring would first have to apply to the FSA for authorisation to do so and their spokeswoman said, ‚??No applications have been received to date for products derived from cloned animals.‚??

Well, I don‚??t know about you, but I‚??m totally reassured.

Other news? You‚??ve heard that there‚??s been an increase in the number of guns in civilian hands in the UK?

Don‚??t be so silly - there can‚??t be. No-one‚??s applied for a gun license in ages….

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3 Comments on “The UK’s new Big Food Worry. Cloned cows. Seriously.”

  1. Stephen Ball Says:

    ~~In a statement DEFRA have said they are ‚??investigating whether proper procedure was followed when the cow‚??s embryo was flown into the UK‚??. Really? That‚??s nice.~~

    Okay, that’s pretty damn frightening right there.

  2. Sue Stewart Says:

    Look on the bright side - maybe the procedure was followed properly. Maybe the problem is just that DEFRA, like the Home Office, decided not to notice.

  3. Doccy Says:

    Uhm… Surely proper procedure would involve ‘Telling DEFRA in the first place’? No, wait, that’s crazy talk again. Proper procedure in this case probably amounts to ‘keeping an eye on it and avoiding the temptation to play any pranks on people while it’s transported’.

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