A Project of Animal Place
February 21, 2003
(To Search This Page Press Ctrl F)
Number #6 Volume 2
1. Dolly Euthanized, Cloning Problems
2. CAST Animal Biotechnology Series
3. "Biotech in The Barnyard"
4. Food Supply May Contain Genetically Altered Pigs
5. Bird Experimentation
6. "Operation Kuwaiti Field Chicken"
7. Pre-Teen Beef
8. Cash Cows
9. School Lunch Overload
10 Website Spotlight: Eating Animals/Kingdom Keepers/Animals Voice
11 Upcoming Events: FL. Action Symposium; Great American Meatout
1. DOLLY EUTHANIZED, CLONING PROBLEMS
Dolly, the world's first mammal cloned from an adult (sheep), has been euthanized by lethal injection. She was 6 years old. Arthritic from the age of 5, and obese, her death was blamed on a lung infection. (Dolly spent her life indoors for security purposes.) Sheep have a natural life span of about 10-15 years. A postmortem is being conducted which may reveal whether her death was due to her having been cloned. Some scientists suspect that cloned animals may suffer premature aging since the procedure involves putting genes from a mature animal into an egg. About 1 in 100 cloned embryos survive to birth. Others, suffering from oversized organs, die in the womb, while others are born dead. Still others die shortly after birth, some twice as large as they should be. Many of the survivors, 25% by one estimate, have physical problems, such as heart, lung and weight abnormalities (see issue #94). Behavioral abnormalities would be more difficult to assess. The L.A. Times article details procedural and developmental problems with cloning. Dolly, named after singer Dolly Parton on account of the mammary gland cell that was used to produce her, gave birth to 4 lambs. Her body is to be put on public display.
"Dolly's Death Resurrects Debate on Cloning Ethics," The Los Angeles Times, Rosie Mestel, February 16, 2003.
For info on additional sources used for this item, send a request to: Info@FarmedAnimal.net
2. CAST ANIMAL BIOTECHNOLOGY SERIES
"Biotechnology in Animal Agriculture: An Overview," is the first paper in a series entitled "Animal Agriculture's Future through Biotechnology," issued by the Council for Agricultural Science and Technology (CAST). The 12-page paper finishes with a section on ethics which cautions, "Although cloning may prove to be of little value in agricultural contexts, related media reports constantly quote researchers as stressing that the cloning of humans would be unacceptable in light of the low success rate and the high rate of health problems in animal clones. This emphasis, by researchers themselves, that cloned animals are likely to have health problems draws increased attention to the questions of how scientists conceive of animal welfare and how they factor adverse welfare impacts on animals into decisions of whether or not various lines of research are justified." The full report can be accessed at (PDF FILE): http://www.cast-science.org/pubs/biotechanimalagoverview_ip.pdf
3. "BIOTECH IN THE BARNYARD"
"Biotech in the Barnyard: Implications of Genetically Engineered Animals," was the name of a 2-day workshop held in Dallas last September (see issue #81). The workshop, sponsored by the Pew Initiative on Food and Biotechnology, was open to the public and largely attended by researchers and government officials. It was followed by a 1-day symposium entitled "Animal Cloning and the Production of Food Products - Perspectives from the Food Chain," co-sponsored by the FDA's Center for Veterinary Medicine. Among the speakers was bioethicist Gary Comstock who suggested that, while it is common to view transgenic animals as valuable production machines, it may be more beneficial to society that animals be viewed as beloved pets, which provide for sick humans and give us their lives in service. He said since transgenic animals are subjects of the scientists own making, obligations to them are greater than to animal not subject to bioengineering techniques. Animal welfare scientist Joy Mench pointed out that due to the lack of an animal welfare standard in conventional agriculture there is no benchmark against which to measure the welfare of transgenic farmed animals. Many of the technologies used to produce transgenic animals are already used in conventional agriculture.
Between April 2001 and January of this year, 386 pigs, the offspring of genetically altered mothers, were released to a "livestock dealer" by the University of Illinois (UI). According to the FDA, this was against regulations. Whether the pigs were slaughtered for food is unknown. A UI spokesperson said the university had a different interpretation of the regulations. He said the university had been doing the same since 1999, and expressed surprised that the FDA said it was unaware of it. The pigs were from an experiment which sought to make pigs grow faster. Some were given a cow lactation gene, others a synthesized gene for insulin-like growth factor 1 hormone. Some were given both. UI insists the offspring were repeatedly tested and that none who inherited the introduced material were released. The FDA says insufficient records were kept to be able to verify that but, due to the nature of the genetic material, doubts the incident represents a public health risk. UI has agreed to stop releasing such animals, and the FDA is planning no immediate action against the university. The FDA became aware of the incident when UI alerted it to a transgenic pig who had mistakenly been rendered instead of incinerated. Joe Cummins, Professor Emeritus of Genetics of the University of Western Ontario, criticizes the FDA for acting like UI's public relation firm. Citing an article in the British Medical Journal, he contends the added hormone is associated with cancer, and that the pigs pose a "real and present danger." See the February 10th AnimalNet: http://188.8.131.52/animalnet-archives.htm
"FDA: Genetically Altered Pigs Might Have Gone to Market," Meating Place, Daniel Yovich.
5. BIRD EXPERIMENTATION
Millions of birds are used as experimental subjects in university, government and private laboratories in the U.S. each year. A recently released white paper categorizes and describes these uses, which include: agricultural research, biomedical research, toxicological testing, genetic engineering and cloning. "The Experimental Use of Chickens and Other Birds in Biomedical and Agricultural Research," by Karen Davis of United Poultry Concerns, is available on the New England Anti-Vivisection (NEAVS) web site at: http://www.neavs.org/spreadtheword/stw_paper_birdsreasearch_4_chemical_kdavis.htm For brochure information see: http://www.neavs.org/programs/brochures/brochures_bird.htm
6. "OPERATION KUWAITI FIELD CHICKEN"
Chickens were used to test neurological agents during the Gulf War (see item #5). The military is now planning to use chickens to detect chemical attacks in Iraq. Operation Kuwaiti Field Chicken (KFC) is a plan to have caged chickens atop Hum-Vees as soldiers "drive them into battle across the dusty plains of Iraq." The chickens reportedly are to be used because sophisticated sensor devices might become disabled by pollution from destroyed oil installations.
7. PRE-TEEN BEEF
Cool-2B-Real.com is the name of a web site for girls ages 8-12, which was launched in December by the National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA). The site encourages girls to be confident, offering message boards, self-esteem tests, advice - and beef recipes. The web site is an industry's education campaign intended for a growing youth population which is becoming vegetarian. According to Teenage Research Unlimited, a market research group, 28% of girls who were polled, and 13% of surveyed boys, said vegetarianism is "cool." [Teenage girls are the fastest growing vegetarian group in the country.] Some 60% of schools now offer vegetarian alternatives, compared to 40% in 1999. NCBA had hired a child psychologist to promote pro-beef messages to editors of magazines and web sites with teen girl audiences but found the editors to be skeptical. "This is an I-got-a-cow-to-sell-ya sales job that insults the intelligence of the average 12-year-old," remarks an article in Salon.com about the web site, entitled "Luring Preteens with Red Meat." Responding to a bus that PETA intends to begin circulating in New York City next month covered with ads depicting an obese child eating a burger and the slogan "Feeding Kids Meat Is Child Abuse - Fight the Fat," NCBA called it "irresponsible." NCBA has a web site for younger children called "Burger Town"at: http://burgertown.kidscom.com The National Pork Board has a kids' site at: http://www.pork4kids.com PETA has a "VegKids" site at: http://www.peta.org/kids/vegkids/index.html
"Luring Preteens with Red Meat," Salon, Katharine Mieszkowski, February 11, 2003.
"Meat Industry, Pro-Vegetarian Group Compete for Young People's Loyalties," Associated Press, Martha Irvine, February 18, 2003.
8. CASH COWS
The Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board has cow models "dressed" in reproductions of $1,000 bills and mounted on flatbed trucks touring the state. The message they are to convey is: "Wisconsin's state capital – Milk means $18.5 billion a year to Wisconsin." Fourth-graders in public schools are the primary intended audience for the "mooooving BILL board's"12-week tour. Several other billboard trucks of differing designs are in the works, some aimed at older, city consumers.
9. SCHOOL LUNCH OVERLOAD
The USDA's National School Lunch Program provides subsidized meals to 27 million children every weekday. The program has the dual missions of providing healthy meals while propping up meat and milk demand. The USDA buys up agricultural surplus, giving it to schools to serve students. Most of the commodities provided are meat and dairy products, often full of saturated fat. While weight-related illnesses in children are escalating, schools are serving kids the very foods that lead to obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. In 2001, the USDA spent $350 million on surplus beef and cheese, more than double the amount it spent on fruits and vegetables (most of which were canned or frozen). The USDA additionally makes special purchases in response to industry lobbying (see issue #84). "Basically, it's a welfare program for suppliers of commodities," a retired nutritionist explains, with school meal programs serving as a way to dispose of the purchased products.
10. WEBSITE SPOTLIGHT: EATING ANIMALS/KINGDOM KEEPERS/ANIMALS VOICE
EatingAnimals.com is a new web site created to explain what life and death is like for farmed animals. The site has extensive listings of books, editorials, fact sheets, images, interviews, videos and other resources, organized into various categories. It also has extensive links to "humane diet" organizations. A production of The Animals Voice: http://www.EatingAnimals.com
11. UPCOMING EVENTS: FL. ACTION SYMPOSIUM; GREAT AMERICAN MEATOUT
The Compassion for Animals Action Symposium will be held in Tampa, Fl. from March 7-9th. "Experts"of the animal rights and vegan movements will help participants to learn how to effectively organize outreach education programs and conduct classroom and community presentations. Speakers include Karen Davis, Michael Gregor, Paul Shapiro, and Wayne Pacelle.