Wednesday, January 2, 2008

to discuss: potatoes, biodiversity, etsy

The other morning we were eating breakfast and discussing the mighty potato, raddest of starchy veg.

Layne: (something about loving potatoes)

John: Well, look what it did for Ireland!

Layne: The blight, you mean?

John: No, potatoes kept that country alive. Although, it does make the case for a diversified food supply.


I can't remember exactly how I said it, but here's the gist:

I know! It makes me think of those idiots who want to use cloned animals in the meat and dairy industries. I remember that piece I heard on NPR where they had a panel of people discussing the pros and cons of cloned animals. The woman representing the pro side was scoffing at a caller who had voiced concerns about treatment of the animals and potential for devastating disease--he referenced the hog cholera or hoof and mouth or I don't know what all epizootic they had in England in the last few years (what haven't they had to recall?). Anyway, the panelist condescendingly made the point that non-cloned animals aren't exactly running through grass pastures as it is, and they don't need to worry about a panzootic because . . . wait for it . . . they'll be careful to be really clean. That is basically what her argument boiled down to. I was practically screaming "BIODIVERSITY" at the radio, but they wouldn't listen. Now, I'm no scientician, and I would really like someone who knows better to explain to me where my reasoning is faulty, but couldn't an eighth grader with only the most rudimentary understanding of genetics tell us all that to have our meat and dairy industries supplied by clones is crazy stupid? And here's where I might be out in the weeds: in a typical animal population, when a disease hits, all of the animals don't always catch it, right? But that's because genetically each animal is unique, even if the differences are minuscule, right? So, doesn't that mean that if a disease were introduced to a cloned population that every single animal would get it? Because genetically they are not unique? They are all just copies of the exact same animal? And I don't know what they think they're going to change about animal handling and hygiene practices between now and Clonus: the Future that is going to keep disease out of their herds. Aren't these diseases already devastating enough, without guaranteeing that LITERALLY (used correctly, btw) every animal would succumb? Shut up, science!

A fun site to check out if you're looking for unique unnecessaries is Etsy. Just so you know.