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Who benefits from cloning? 

Once again, science marches on, trampling right over us in the name of false progress and efficiency. The latest advance of science is the cloning of animals. "We can make every cow precisely like its progenitor," exult lab techs working for corporate cloners. "This eliminates uncertainty in meat production, for every cut can be the exact same texture, taste and composition. We have achieved the efficiency of the assembly line inside the animal itself!"

What about cloned animals' startlingly high propensity to die before birth or shortly after? Or the high rate of birth defects and health problems in clones? Do we want our families eating that?

"Oh, tut tut," retort the clonists. "Don't you know that the FDA has now declared meat and dairy products from cloned animals safe? Don't worry, pal. The Bush administration has given the OK for meat and dairy corporations to market the cloned stuff to you without even labeling the product as cloned. Trust us!"

Now I really am worried. Besides: We are lucky to have an abundance of meat and dairy products with a wide variety of flavors and textures produced by unique environments, farmers and artisans all across our country. Why would we give up all of that richness for a cloned uniformity that pushes our food supply from family producers into labs and factory systems of corporate profiteers? There is a useful Latin phrase we should repeat whenever corporate science and government team up to push another technological "advance" on us: cui bono? Who benefits? Cloning has nothing to do with helping consumers, farmers or the economy, and certainly not the animals. It's just another shortcut to concentrate profit and power in corporate hands.

Jim Hightower is the author of Let's Stop Beating Around the Bush, on sale from Viking Press. For more, visit jimhightower.com.

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