Cloned animals will supply us food

Buddhists tell us every being has been our mother in one incarnation or another. What about cloned pork? Compassion doubtless remains.

I suppose the Buddhist principles would apply whether the being is "natural" or "artificial." Or maybe there is no difference anymore.

We're told the FDA is set to OK food from cloned animals.

'The Food and Drug Administration planned to brief industry groups in advance of an announcement. The agency indicated it would approve cloned livestock in a scientific journal article published online earlier this month.

The agency "concludes that meat and milk from clones and their progeny is as safe to eat as corresponding products derived from animals produced using contemporary agricultural practices," FDA scientists Larisa Rudenko and John C. Matheson wrote in the Jan. 1 issue of Theriogenology....

The FDA scientists wrote that by the time clones reached 6 to 18 months of age, they were "virtually indistinguishable" from conventionally bred animals.'

Practices such as vegetarianism now have to include a ban against cloned products. There is also the yogic perspective of ahimsa (non-violence), and the injury inflicted on the cloned animal to consider.

We created it ... so we can do wha'ever we want with it, no doubt the justification will go.

And yet the cloned animal too will suffer, no less than the uncloned one.

Is humanity just multiplying its bad karma? Or feeding its hungry population?

The only legal or ethical issue mentioned in the Reuters article is that of labeling. Some consumers want additional labeling identifying the clone - CLONED MEAT showing up on the plastic wrap, perhaps, coming soon to a shelf near you - due to safety concerns.

What about our moral and spiritual safety - safety beyond the physical level, moving into the space-time continuum, and the hungry mouths of the deities (if you chose to believe in them or enjoy them as metaphors or archetypes)?

I'll step off the soapbox, now - it's just that we are being so careful to avoid cloning humans, a careful dance around the ultimate no-no, but have no compunction when it comes to animals.

But if there's no difference between real and cloned among our animal kin, is there really any difference between all-too-human and cloned person ... or, at that, between the two-leggeds and four-leggeds, between animal and human?

Maybe it's time again to contemplate species impartiality.

Law Offices of Michael H. Cohen offers general corporate legal services, litigation consultation, and expertise in health law with a unique focus on alternative, complementary, and integrative medical therapies.

Michael H. Cohen is Principal in Law Offices of Michael H. Cohen and also President of the Institute for Integrative and Energy Medicine (also known as the Institute for Health, Ethics, Law, Policy & Society), a reliable forum for exploration of legal, regulatory, ethical, and health policy issues involved in the judicious integration of complementary and alternative medical therapies (such as acupuncture and traditional oriental medicine, chiropractic, massage therapy, herbal medicine) and conventional clinical care. The most recent published book by Michael H. Cohen on health care law, regulation, ethics and policy pertaining to complementary, alternative and integrative medicine and related fields is Healing at the Borderland of Medicine and Religion. This is the fourth book in a series, following Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Legal Boundaries and Regulatory Perspectives (1998), Beyond Complementary Medicine: Legal and Ethical Perspectives on Health Care and Human Evolution (2000), and Future Medicine: Ethical Dilemmas, Regulatory Challenges, and Therapeutic Pathways to Health Care and Healing in Human Transformation (2003).