Posts Tagged ‘ethics’

FSA allows the selling of meat and dairy from cloned animals

Yesterday, the Food Standards Agency published its verdict on whether the sale of meat and dairy products from cloned animals should be allowed. The dispute over this issue broke out nearly a  year ago, when it was found that some butchers’ shops had been selling meat obtained from the offspring of a cloned cow and had been doing so without telling their customers.

It was uncovered that several farmers had been breeding cows with cloned parents in an effort to boost productivity of their cows and their size. Some have also hoped to create cows with better immune systems. The cows who were being bred from clones were not receiving any form of assessments either as to whether they were healthy or whether their products were fit for human consumption, despite requirements by the FSA.

An investigation into food products from cloned cattle and their offspring was launched last year, and discovered that there was “no substantial difference to conventionally produced meat and milk, and therefore is unlikely to present a food safety risk.”

Yesterday though, the FSA stated that there is no reason for products coming from cloned animals and their offspring to be an issue and that consumers should “definitely be able to eat these controversial products.” It said that licenses would still need to be acquired though. However, once again, there has been a failure to look at the wider picture. ‘So long as in the immediate future, humanity will be better off, then it’ll all be fine’ seems to be the view of the FSA.

Dolly, the first cloned animal

By allowing cloning into farming there will undoubtedly be a host of problems that follow it. Whether or not meat and milk is safe for human consumption is one issue, but the FSA seem to have completely neglected all of the others. My main concern lies with animal welfare. Once again, animals are treated as products, not as living beings. This isn’t like genetically modifying a tomato. A tomato is not going to suffer throughout its life by growing beyond its natural size. Meanwhile, cloned animals often develop health problems. Contrary to the idea mentioned above that cloning will develop better immune systems in animals, cloned animals often have horrific mutations, physical problems, and terrible arthritis. It is inhumane to raise these aberrations in the name of better productivity. Also, some of these clones are pumped full of antibiotics – surely there’s a health risk there somewhere?

But a bigger issue also lies here. Everyday, farming seems to become further and further removed from the stereotypical vision one has in their head. Nowadays, people don’t even tend to make a connection between the animal on a farm and the meat that’s on the plate. The world needs to be moving towards a greater understanding of what the consequences of what they’re eating are, but by introducing cloning into the mainstream then we are destined to move further away from this.

If you don’t know how cloning works, then read a little into it (you can watch a short video on this page). It’s an interesting process, but it strikes me as utterly bizarre and unnatural at the same time. It made me think of that scene in Jurassic Park, where they’re all sitting around having dinner and first discussing the park. Dr Ian Malcolm, talking to the park’s creator John Hammond, states that “genetic power is the most awesome force that this planet has ever seen, yet you wield like a kid whose found his dad’s gun.” I feel Dr Malcolm’s words ring true here too. Is it truly rational to accept this process into mainstream farming, just for the sake of allowing a few farmers to hold onto their prize cows for longer?

For more information on cloning and animal foods, please check out http://www.endanimalcloning.org or go and have a chat with Dr Malcolm.

Vintage Fur

Yo Vegangstaz!

I’m not going to get into the vintage fashion industry and it’s current explosion in popularity here. I know there are people who love it to bits (quite literally with some vintage clothing) and there are others who abhor the very idea of it. I want to focus upon the issue of fur within vintage fashion.

Many have come to see vintage fur as ok (including vegetarians and even vegans), as the animal has not been killed recently and the garment would otherwise go to waste. However, by this token, surely it’s ok to eat a bacon sandwich that no one else wants? I feel any vegetarian/vegan with any integrity would say they wouldn’t eat that sandwich, so why has it become acceptable by many to wear vintage fur (and leather)?

My main difficulty with the stocking of real fur in vintage stores is not so much about seeing the fact that it is vintage as an excuse to wear it, but rather the effect the support of real fur has on the fashion industry. As mentioned previously, vintage seems to be one of the most prevalent forces in the fashion industry at the moment. However, it is worrying how aspects of the fashion industry can perpetuate other trends. Up until recently, fur was a huge no-no. However, there has been a constant battle by the fashion industry (with most major fashion labels in support of this) to reintroduce fur into fashion. Fortunately, their success was limited, until the recent arrival of the vintage trend. “The coming year is an extremely important one for the fur industry, with real fur being pushed back onto the high street using the vintage fashion craze. However, some top furriers have admitted that this is all a part of the plan to revitalise the fur trade and make their image appear acceptable. ” Essentially, vintage fur has set in motion the idea that fur is acceptable once again.

More worrying though is the lack of ‘vintage’ in vintage fur. To illustrate what is meant by this, I’m going to take the example of a vintage company which has stores in Brighton UK, London UK, and Sweden: Beyond Retro. The company has been under attack from its inception for its policy on stocking fur, but more recently has been uncovered to be stocking fur which is barely a few years old and is undoubtedly a product of the cruel Chinese fur industry. Beyond Retro have allegedly been taking in real fur items that are barely a few years old and selling them as vintage items which are a few decades old. By stocking fur that is relatively new, Beyond Retro are potentially selling cat and dog fur labelled as rabbit and mink, conning people who are buying it into believing that the fur is decades older than it actually is, and keeping a horrific industry alive.

Perhaps it’s time the vintage fashion industry washed its hands of such a difficult topic and helped bury fur altogether. And perhaps it’s time that anyone who is against fur (the vast majority thankfully) showed support for faux fur in fashion, highlighting to labels everywhere that designs don’t have to suffer just because animals won’t.

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