NOTE: Good news for the UK, though note that a significant number of the cloned cows now seem to be headed for Portugal. All clones are defective, in one way or another, with multiple flaws embedded in their genomes, and cloned animals often don't come to term, are born fatally deformed or under-developed, have life shortening complications, and/or are developmentally disabled. For more of the background:
Farmer ditches his plan for clone milk and sells off cows after 'Frankenstein' outcry
Daily Mail, 6 April 2012
*Most of the 96 animals have been destroyed or exported to Europe
*Move kills idea of using cloned animals for food production
Public fears about ‘Frankenstein farming’ have killed off plans to sell milk from Britain’s only herd of clone cattle.
Most of the 96 animals – sired by two bulls bred from embryos from a cloned cow – have been destroyed or exported to Europe.
The farmer who owned the cows decided to get rid of them after it became clear the public would not accept milk or meat from them.
In effect, the move kills the idea of using cloned animals or their offspring for food production in the UK for the foreseeable future.
Regret: Steven Innes is saddened that he has to sell off his herd of cows
[Regret: Steven Innes is saddened that he has to sell off his herd of cows]
The Daily Mail revealed two years ago that Steven Innes had bought the two bulls and bred milking cows from them.
At that stage, the cows were too young to produce milk, but the news triggered a public backlash amid concerns that clone farming is cruel.
Now it has emerged that Mr Innes and his family, who run Newmeadow Holsteins near Nairn in Scotland, have abandoned plans to produce milk from the cows.
Official records show he has destroyed 42 of the 96 Holsteins and exported 31 to Portugal. One of these fates awaits the remaining 23.
Most consumers oppose ‘clone farming’ with concerns both for animal welfare and human health, according to research by the Food Standards Agency.
Disappointing: Official records show Mr Innes has destroyed 42 of the 96 Holsteins and exported 31 to Portugal
[Disappointing: Official records show Mr Innes has destroyed 42 of the 96 Holsteins and exported 31 to Portugal]
Leading supermarkets also made it clear they would have nothing to do with any milk produced by the 96 cows.
When Mr Innes first bred them, it was unclear whether he would need to get safety approval to sell any milk or meat from them.
Initially, the FSA ruled that the food would need to be assessed for safety, but it subsequently changed its mind.
Mr Innes said there was never any question that the milk from the cows would be unsafe and insists he was surprised by the negative reaction.
‘It was very distressing for me and my family,’ he said.
‘We had taken advice and felt we had followed all the rules and regulations, but we do accept that we hadn’t fully appreciated that there would be such a negative reaction.
‘What we do regret is that we didn’t anticipate that the level of interest would be so high and, had we done so, we would have done things differently.
‘As a farmer, I want to care for my cows and produce food the public want to enjoy.’
Upset: Mr Innes said he was working really hard to find a buyer for the remainder of his herd, but unfortunately we had so far been unsuccessful.
[Upset: Mr Innes said he was working really hard to find a buyer for the remainder of his herd, but had so far been unsuccessful
Mr Innes said the decision to destroy a large number of the cows was ‘sad and distressing’. He was ‘working really hard to find a buyer for the remainder, but unfortunately we have so far been unsuccessful’.
Simon Gee of Holstein UK, which keeps breed records for milking cows, said no new clone offspring had been born and registered in the UK since the 96 on the Scottish farm.
This means only a handful of animals with clone ancestry – fewer than five – are now living on British farms. All of these can be traced back to a single clone cow in the U.S.
‘There is no future for cloned farm animals if you look at the public reaction,’ said Mr Gee.
He also suggested most farmers had no interest in using clones. ‘Farmers do not want lots of copies of the same animal for either breeding or food,’ he said. ‘They are constantly looking to improve the animals they have on farms.’
The cloned animal that produced the embryos of Mr Innes’s bulls was created from cells taken from the ear of a show cow in America, Vandyk-K Integrity Paradise.
There are concerns about the suffering associated with animal cloning, with many cases of miscarriage, early death, gigantism and malformed organs.
Peter Stevenson, of the campaign group Compassion in World Farming, said other farmers and the Government should ‘realise cloning is not the way forward’.
He added: ‘The idea of using clones and their offspring to produce milk and meat is unacceptable to consumers.’