ALIVE’s Opinions against Using Cloned Animals
ALIVE Submitted Public Comment Concerning Using Cloned Animals
for Food (the contents are posted below).
Foods Derived from Cloned Cows and Swine,
and From the Offspring of Cloned Animals (plan)
Public Comments Collected from March 12 to April 10, 2009
Letter is address to:
The Cabinet Office Food Safety Commission Evaluation Office
"Safety Assessment of Newly Developed Food Technology
and its Effects on Health"
ALIVE's Opinion Concerning Foods Derived from Cloned
Cows and Swine, and From the Offspring of Cloned Animals (plan)
April 6, 2009 (Fusako Nogami, ALIVE)
1) The Summary of ALIVE's Public Comment.
Safety Assessment of Newly Developed Food Effects on Health
(Safety Assessment) concluded that foods derived from cloned
cows and swine, and from the offspring of clones, are as safe
as food from
conventionally bred animals, therefore the cloned animal food
is as safe as the meat currently sold on the market.
However a lot of people are skeptical about the safety of
cloned food and feel cloning itself is unethical. This is
because people consider cloning animals blasphemes animal
welfare and disturbs biodiversity.
Life modification technology does not comply with our sense
of nature, which we have cultivated since long ago. The technology
encourages mass-production of single kind of specie while
manipulating life. It
does not fit with human culture and our perspective of life
and nature. We should not rely on the Food Safety Commission
to decide this significantly important issue. We should spend
a lot of time to
discuss with experts who have broader knowledge and wide perspectives.
We should not let the discussions focus only on the food safety.
2) Birth and Growth with Pain
According to Safety Assessment, high spontaneous abortion,
fetal mortality and stillbirth rates are commonly observed
in Cloned Animals produced by using Somatic Cell Nucleus Technology.
These developmental defects have been attributed to placental
problems. The fetus tends to show symptoms such as a hypertrophy
of internal organs or dropsy.
For example, calf fetuses that die right after the birth show
heart, cardiac and kidney structure deficiencies. They also
have problems with their tendon structure. Calf fetuses that
survive one week after the birth showed surface rewarming,
respiratory system deficiency, ascites, fat disease, peromelia
and digestive organ dysfunction.
These problems are attributed to the deficiency in recapitulation
of embryonic gene and the mother experiences miscarriage and
a lot of pain. The fetus that is born from the unhealthy mother's
to have gene deficiency. "Newly Developed Technology"
gives animals mental and physical pain. Such technology certainly
is harmful to animal welfare and should not be accepted.
3) Safety Tests
The Special Research Team concluded that in theory the DNA
of cloned cows and pigs, that survived six months, share the
same base sequence as the donor. It is not the creation of
a brand new kind of living body therefore it is not possible
for the cloned cows and pigs to develop allergies. To confirm
his conclusion, toxicity and allergy tests of cloned animal
meat and milk were conducted on rats and mice.
They were fed cloned cow and pig milk. The results showed
there are no threats from cloned animal meat and did not detect
any allergic reactions.
However environmental factors, mental stress or other complicated
factors cause allergies. Therefore such tests are not legitimate.
Moreover humans and rats/mice are different, so the testing
are not convincing.
4) High Risk of Abnormality in Off-Springs
Safety Assessment concluded that once cloned animals survive
a certain length of time, their growth will stabilize and
they will develop in a healthy way. Also, off-spring of the
cloned animals by artificial
insemination will be healthy and normal.
However it has been only ten years, since the first cloned
animal was produced in the UK. Therefore nobody has conclusive
evidence of the future of cloned animals’ off-spring.
It is risky to conclude that
the off-spring will be healthy and normal. Genes change according
to the environmental shifts. Human cannot control the changes
in environment, thus any unexpected phenomenon can occur anytime.
nonsense to conclude the off-spring are safe, at this point.
5) Cloned Animals and Mass Producing Products
Safety Assessment reports that 3,374 embryos of Cloned Animals
from Somatic Cell Nucleus developed 317 cow fetuses. This
means there is only 9% rate of success. Most of the attempts
end up in miscarriage or implantation does not take successfully,
after artificial insemination. The Ministry of Agriculture,
Forestry and Fisheries stated that it is unrealistic to use
cloned animal food as commercial
products, since the success rate is so low (Ministry of Agriculture,
Forestry and Fisheries Committee, House of Councilors, March
The first generation of cloned animals have high a mortality
rate, but Safety Assessment concluded that when cloned animals
survived more than six months, the quality of meat is as good
as the animals bred by artificial insemination. Therefore
the meat is safe. This conclusion is a direct path to mass
production of cloned animal meat. However the problem is that
off-spring of cloned animals are not created by
cloning, so the products that use the off-spring's meat will
not be labeled as "cloned meat", when they are sold.
This will mislead a lot of consumers. People have shown discomfort
about cloned animal
food, yet consumers will have no way of knowing whether the
products they buy contain cloned meat or not.
6) Cloned Animals and Import
Once Japan confirmed that cloned animal food is safe, this
opens the gate to cloned animal meat import, from countries
such as the US. As we experienced in the BSE safety measures,
it is impossible us to keep our eyes on to the meat processing
that happens overseas. Japan should not accept cloned animal
meat from the US. Japan imports half of the food it consumes,
thus Japan should strictly regulate food imports, which will
secure the safety of imported food
Since the end of World War II, meat consumption in Japan
has risen sharply. This has caused a decrease in Japan's food
self-sufficiency rate, increase in obesity or other diseases.
We do not need any other forms of meat, because a lot of people
are concerned about their health and are trying to reduce
7) Losing Biodiversity
Over the centuries, all living forms have evolved in the
complicated environment on earth. Genes and our bodies are
changing constantly to fit in the environment. Biodiversity
However cloning destroys biodiversity. Clone technology demolishes
uniqueness of individuals, genes and spices and biodiversity.
Risks of cloned animal mass production on biodiversity should
8) Life Ethics
Standardizing one specie effects various parts of our life
and environment. However the focus of the discussions and
the debates is only on "food safety". The food safety
commission makes all the
decisions. This is not logical and fair. People in Japan should
play a very important role in such important discussions,
since the new technologies like cloning conflict with our
sense of life and nature,
which we have cultivated for a long time in our history.
A lot of Japanese people are not comfortable about eating
cloned animal meat. From this, we can assume that the business
opportunities for cloned food is small. Japanese people do
not want their tax money to be spent on such meaningless research
and the government should know this.
* 80% of People are against using
Cloned Animals for Food.