There are now separate chronological lists for Xenotransplantation110 and Genetic Engineering111 now usually called genetic modification or, more truthfully, genetic manipulation.  "Thoughts on Dolly the Cloned Sheep" follows these listings (scroll down).

Review of Genetic Engineering - Dream or Nightmare by Mae-wan Ho 1998

Altering humans to accept animal organs  (CivAb Autumn 1998)

"Coming soon to a Hospital near you?"

Jeremy Rifkin applies for patent on human gene scrambling (CivAb Summer 98)

DLRM Challenge to British Government  (May 12, 1998)

New Pig Virus Infects Humans  (CivAb Spring 1998)

Campaign for Responsible Transplants 51

  (May 8 and March 31 1998)

Genetic Engineering by Helen Fullerton, PhD  (CivAb Summer 1997)

Doctors and Lawyers for Responsible Medicine  (January 1997)

Medical Research Modernization Committee 25  (February 25, 1997)   



Condemnation of cloning from Irwin D. Bross, Ph.D. (January 12, 1997)

Thoughts on Dolly the Cloned Sheep (March 4, 1997)

(or just scroll down a tad)

March 4, 1997                                        from The Civil Abolitionist  Spring 1997               


After getting over our initial outrage at the news of the cloned sheep, we concluded that,  while we disapprove of this practice on principle because it has the potential to do much harm to human society, it is probably less harmful at its present stage than some of the animal husbandry practices already in use. Unfortunately, it is likely to go on if there is money to be made from it.

Animals have been bred for centuries to emphasize characteristics that benefit or please humans. The advent of artificial insemination gave the process a boost enabling numerous cows, for instance, to be impregnated with sperm from a single prize bull. Now, super cows are spiked with hormones to produce more eggs which can then be fertilized and inserted in the wombs of ordinary cows. This is not written to condone such practices or cloning, but merely to put cloning in perspective.

The manipulation of animals can cause much suffering: pigs so heavy that their pelvises snap under burden they must bear; chickens whose legs cannot support their weight adequately; cows with udders so distended they can barely walk. Europe has produced a beef animal (buisson de Somme) with grotesquely enlarged hind quarters. All this and more is in addition to the suffering caused by close confinement and crowding of factory farms. The lack of concern for the animals who earn money for this industry is typified by the chicken producer who quipped: "They don't need legs to lay eggs."

Modern husbandry also employs liberal use of antibiotics, hormones, pesticides and herbicides, minute quantities of which wind up and accumulate in animal tissues -- not a healthy situation for either the animals or the people who eat them. Another major cause for concern is inserting animal DNA into plants in order to produce varieties that can grow in soils saturated with herbicides.

Bad as some modern farming practices are, the real problem is meddling with life forms that have evolved through millions of years of natural selection and producing new variants almost overnight. It is this tampering with basic genetic material that poses the greatest risk of upsetting the natural order of things by providing opportunities for little known, or perhaps previously unidentified organisms, to wipe out exisiting life support systems. Cloning can be equally or more harmful in the long run. Besides its possible adverse effect on human society, it has the disadvantage of reducing genetic diversity, the strength of any species, because the offspring will have the genes of only one parent.

The appearance of a number of horrible new diseases in recent years is more cause for concern than Dolly at the moment, however. Whenever we alter the genetic composition of an existing species, we may be providing the opportunity for a population explosion of an organism previously held in check by our collective immune system. Some scientists believe that the HIV virus was manufactured by combining two separate sheep and cow viruses and resulted in AIDS. (Other scientists believe that AIDS is just a new name for depressed immunity that provides fertile ground for old diseases to take root.)

Perhaps BSE (bovine spongiform encephalopathy or "mad cow" disease) is a better example even though it happened by accident rather than design. The most widely accepted theory is that a virtually industructible protein particle (dubbed a prion) entered cows through bits of ground-up sheep incorporated in the feed given these naturally vegetarian animals. {Sheep had long suffered from an almost identical disease called scrapie.) The particle, which is virtually indestructible, got into people who ate bits of infected cows and caused a new variant of the similar and inevitably fatal Creuzfeldt-Jakob disease. Goodness knows what else might happen if we continue to mix the cells of one species with those of another.

In creating defective transgenic animals, it seems that we are overthrowing centuries of natural selection and ultimately subjecting all life to unnecessary risk. We do not condone cloning but suggest that merely reproducing "farm" animals in this way might be less harmful than some of our present practices.

A press release from Doctors and Lawyers for Responsible Medicine today (4 March 1997), however, describes "the situation at present, as clearly illustrated by the recent cloning of a sheep,....as both untenable and intolerable...in the light of potential appalling misapplications of such experiments." There's no doubt cloning could speed up the process of making matters worse and has horrifying possibilities. DLRM calls for society as whole to establish controls before the process is taken further. A press release from the Medical Research Modernization Committee and earlier one from Doctors and Lawyers for Responsible Medicine (London) follows the next observations by Dr. Irwin D. Bross.


CLONING HUMANS  from Irwin D. Bross, Ph.D., President Biomedical Metatechnology, Inc.,  January 5, 1997.

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