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On the talk show hot seat: CALS researcher discusses safety of meat from cloned animals

CALS animal scientist Dan Schaefer was the guest this week on a segment of Joy Cardin’s Wisconsin Public Radio public radio talk show that focused on the safety of meat from cloned animals. To listen to the interview, go to Cardin’s program archive on the Wisconsin Public Radio website.

Schaefer, chair of the Department of Animal Sciences, was interviewed by Cardin from 7–8 a.m. on Wed., Jan. 3. The show was prompted by a Food and Drug Administration announcement issued on Dec. 28. On that date FDA released three documents on the safety of animal cloning — a draft risk assessment; a proposed risk management plan; and a draft guidance for industry — and state that it is seeking public comment during a 90-day period that ends April 2, 2007.

Schaefer noted that a review of the scientific literature on the subject indicates that meat from cloned animals is not different from meat from animals produced through conventional reproductive techniques. He also noted that the number of cloned animals entering the meat supply would be extremely small. Since the technique is very expensive and inefficient, it would be used only to reproduce a few elite breeding animals.

He also pointed out that much of the fundamental research that laid the foundation for current cloning techniques was done in the College, much of it in the animal sciences department. A summary of that work is available at the CALS web site at www.cals.wisc.edu/media/news/98sci_rept/cloning/cloning.html

Schaefer’s interview can be listened to or downloaded at wpr.org/webcasting/audioarchives_display.cfm?Code=jca

The FDA announcement is available at www.fda.gov/bbs/topics/NEWS/2006/NEW01541.html

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