With Faxes and Telexes we knew better

Posted 4 Aug 2010 by Walaa Idris

When I heard in the news that “meat from the offspring of a cloned cow has entered the British food chain” I wasn’t sure what to think? The word cloned made the whole thing sound very Frankensteinish. But looking further things stared to make sense.

In my farming days, back in the Sudan, we artificially inseminated some of the milking cows with Friesian Bulls, from Fresno California. The aim was to improve and transform the arid wild cow of Sudan into a tamer more productive breed. Many before us tried to achieve the same by importing live bulls from England and Holland with disastrous results, due to the drastic difference in environment and climate, the animals suffered and later died.

Importing seaman was the better and more humane option, the rule was to artificially inseminate one generation and carry on breading naturally afterwards. Cows and most mammals are very similar to humans, cross breading; while it preserves the line will long term develop genetic problems and defects. So we never practiced it!

Reading today’s article took me back in time and made me wonder, if before the Internet [Telex & Tax were the fastest contact with overseas research back then], we in Africa managed to research, study and consult geneticist to safely improve our heard. What excuse do today’s better heeled farmers have to make such a mistake and then try to cover it up.

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