What could be so bad about cloning if it produces a herd of 688s? Better yet, what if all cows were 688s? Would you support cloning then?

No.

No more than I would like us all to look, think and act alike. Nature’s strength, you could even say the strength of this earth and the people upon it, depends on diversity. It was never intended that we all be identical.

What we cattlemen should be about is producing high quality food. Cloning is about science. And science has served cattlemen in recent years mostly by increasing production. Science, and much of our industry, has been about bigger…and faster.

The result: we do, in fact, grow bigger calves faster. But the result also has been: poorer quality meat and sicker cows, and a devastated cattle industry. And the evidence is growing that the result has also been sicker consumers.

So here we go again! And where will the siren song of science take us this time?

First, I am certainly not “anti-science”. Scientists are respected for their exploration of the unknown. Their work stimulates the mind, excites the imagination, and does indeed answer many of the questions we have created. But science is without morality. It cannot ask the right questions and it cannot judge the answers. That is for the rest of us to do.

Please keep in mind that no one is claiming that a cloned cow will be identical to a natural cow. The claim is that we won’t be able to taste the difference. But we already know (thanks to science) that the cow’s system is changed by cloning and the resultant animal is missing elements in its reproductive, digestive and immune system that are vital for the species.

And let me state emphatically: if it affects a cow’s reproductive, digestive and immune system, eating the meat of that cow will affect the reproductive, digestive and immune systems of the consumer!
Taste is important but nothing can be more important than protecting the health of our families and the animals which have also been entrusted to our care. Once again, science is offering a “short cut”.

All the breeds of cattle on this earth were created without science dictating their development. Experienced cattlemen have studied their animals and have guided their development in a practice that has stood the test of time. We call it “husbandry”.

But about 50 years ago we abandoned husbandry and began the pursuit of “bigger faster” and put scientists and universities and bureaucrats to work on the problem. Today, we have cattle herds that are a wreck; cows that won’t “work” on grass; cows that get sick and die despite massive doses of drugs. And we also get meat that is sometimes inedible and often not best for our health.

These are the people we least want in charge of the future of our industry.
No scientist I know has the ability to come to my pasture and select cows that function well on grass and yield an outstanding taste experience. Selection for high quality must be our number one criteria; not growth, not quick, not cheap, if we are to provide our fellow man with a product good for the body and mind.

We at NADA will continue to select and nurture the very best cows and bulls that do produce the healthiest, best-tasting meat; animals with high levels of butterfat and a body type that utilizes grass to recreate our replacements.

Let me conclude by saying that husbandry—studying my cows and the pastures they thrive on—is as invigorating to me as the scientist work is to him. I may not get the recognition (or the big government grants) the scientists does. But I know what I produce. Most of all, I know that what I produce is good for my neighbors’ welfare.

The correct answers are not always the fastest. There isn’t any shortcut to doing the right thing.