Is the cloning of animals for food unethical or detrimental for animal welfare?

I would posit that it isn’t. If we’re talking about “vat-grown” steaks then surely that is better for animals in that none would have to die to produce the meal on your plate? If we’re talking about cloning entire animals that still need to be killed and processed, however, then perhaps the issue is a little muddier, but I don’t see how that would make welfare standards any worse.

What’s your view?

I don’t understand this idea that seems to be popular that cloning is somehow an easier or cheaper way to make animals than just letting them make animals the old-fashioned way. If I have a herd of cattle, and I want more cattle, I can either spend millions of dollars and many years working to create a cloned offspring, or I can just let them have sex.

Cloning animals for food doesn’t make any sense at all.

Ok, but that’s a different debate. If it *was *economically viable, however, do you think it would be unethical or detrimental for animal welfare?

No more or less ethical than using more natural methods of reproduction - the cloned offspring would still have to be carried to term in the womb of a parent - cloning is really not much more than an alternative method of conception.

Maybe detrimental to population genetics, if mismanaged.

Perhaps it would help if you explain why you think it’s unethical, rather than just state that you think it is. I’m not seeing the quandary.

And what are “welfare standards”?

Sorry John, but I think you might have mis-read my post. I don’t think it’s unethical. In fact I think that if they were economically viable and nutritionally safe, cloned “vat-burgers” would be better for animals because none would have to suffer. And by “welfare standards”, I mean those industry standards that regulate how much space, air, light and care animals must receive by law.

Are you talking vat meat or entire cloned animals? Ethically speaking, those are two distinct arguments.

I’m talking about both. For vat meat, I think the net effect for animals welfare will be positive. For entire cloned animals, I don’t think it will have any effect either way in and of itself.

Any cloned animal is essentially a twin of the original source of DNA. And any cloned animal is implanted in a surrogate mother (unless we develop artificial womb technology), which gives birth (or lays an egg) just like a normal animal.

There’s no difference in the ethics, in my view. It’s just another (and far more expensive) way to get a fertilized egg and put it into a womb.

Vat meat (or vat eggs, as in chicken eggs) would be an entirely different moral/ethical scenario.

I see nothing about it that would be any worse for farm animals than what they go through now.

Cloning the whole animal, raising it, and eating it is exactly the same as raising an animal from birth and then eating it. The only difference is that you’ve thrown a few million dollars down the drain. I cannot fathom why anyone would see it differently.

Sorry, but I think we’re both misreading each other’s posts.

I was referring to cloned animals, not “vat food”. Are you still saying you think that’s ethically OK? If so, then I guess I don’t have any beef with your OP. :wink:

Any ethical issues would arise only if there were significant numbers of animals that were cloned and born deformed in that they would suffer before they could be euthanized. But if that were the case, then it wouldn’t be economically viable.

The only difference would be the uniform quality of the clones. Suppose someone could genetically alter a breed of cattle to make its meat taste significantly “better” to 95% of people who tried it. Well, cloning that cattle allows you to keep that taste advantage.

Yes, cloning is routinely done in many kinds of plants for exactly that reason. The difference is that it’s often extremely easy to create cloned plants, since vegetative reproduction is a normal part of many plants’ life cycle.

It could be detrimental to human welfare. Cloned animals means one bug that can kill one kills the whole herd. IIRC it’s an issue with cloned plants as well.

Yes! We have no Bananas

Plant breeders, since ancient times, have had to make a decision as to whether it will be more practical to develop a seed variety, or a clonal variety. Breeding clones is easier than breeding seed varieties, but growing seeds is cheaper than clonal propagation techniques like layering and cloning. The decision is generally that if the plant is long-lived (think tree fruits), breeders will go clonal.

Making a moral or environmental issue over it would be IMHO absurd.

As already noted, clonal animal breeding would not be cost-effective.

Re animal welfare, if there were cloned animals, each one would have a rather similar personality. This would affect how stressed AKA unhappy the animal is living in conditions of industrial agriculture. I imagine that some clones would be more amenable to living under those conditions than comparable traditional breeds, and some less.