Wednesday, March 25, 2009

CyClone Dairy: "Perfect Cows. Perfect Milk."

I assume this is a spoof.

Here's what is supposedly the website for CyClone Dairy (a dairy that claims that 100% of its milk comes from cloned cows).

If anyone knows who's behind this, email me.


Anonymous Ship said...

I saw this as well. It's actually very funny (especially their "promotional" videos). It is obviously a hoax, since researchers are still facing significant hurdles to the cloning of dairy cattle that are healthy (it is far behind the cloning of swine, for example). I have no clue who is behind it, but I'm sure they'll unveil themselves soon enough. I'm guessing Environmental Working Group, or similar.

March 25, 2009 12:25 PM  
Blogger John Dennis said...

I really don't know whether to laugh or cry... i saw two ads for Cyclone and first didn't think it could be real. I thought: nah, there's a moratorium, the tech wasn't there yet, not cost-effective, etc. But the more I looked, I found that not only COULD this happen, its BEEN HAPPENING FOR YEARS! I read in Wired magazine an article from 2007 called "cloned beef (and milk and pork): it's what's for Dinner" that quoted farmers who were already getting cloned beef and milk into the human food stream then. It could be everywhere and from there site, Cyclone dairy has only been selling dairy to other companies, maybe they are now pushing for public support to sell direct. I for one am not going to support it and if it turns out ot be a hoax I'll laugh when people know to ask more about whether there is clones in there food or not!

March 25, 2009 1:37 PM  
Blogger Chris MacDonald, Ph.D. said...

Notice that there is NO contact information on the website. I'm 99% sure it's a hoax.

Certainly, it's possible (even likely) that there is some milk from cloned cattle currently hitting the market, mixed with other milk. Personally I don't really care. But I think it's highly unlikely that a company would be bragging about it just yet.


March 25, 2009 1:44 PM  
Blogger John Dennis said...

You may be right... though if they're spending for tv ads, they must be selling something or other. I couldn't believe it when I saw the first one but the second ad sent me to the web. After 2 days reading up, I had found similar companies (those on web, not tv) like viagen and cyagra,adn was totally creeped out. I'm positive the cyclone web site had contact info when i first saw it, so maybe they starting getting bad press? But that's probably what they wanted if it is a hoax, so either way... Your welcome to clones if you want them in the "cheese on your sandwich" but I want my sandwich cloneless please!

March 25, 2009 2:11 PM  
Blogger Tom Birkland said...

I think this is a hoax for one reason: a Whois search reveals that the site registration is anonymous, but that it's managed thru Similar searches on real companies like Monsanto, Cargill, ConAgra are not anonymous. This is thin circumstantial evidence, but combine this with the fact that there is no contact information and something smells more piscine than bovine.

March 25, 2009 7:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There's no question in my mind that "John Dennis" here is astroturfing as one of the people behind this site.

Their tactic seems to be: set up a site that makes cloned milk feel a little bit "suspicious", then post comments on any blog that talks about the site posing as "concerned citizens" who are outraged by the site.

Net result: wow, America is concerned about cloned animals!

Just read the comments here -- all posted at the same time, and all obviously astroturfing.

John, seriously, it's a nice try, but you've gotta do better than "I want my sandwich cloneless please!" if you want that Dairy Famers of America viral marketing promotion.

The ultimate irony: for me, a random software engineer, the CyClone site actually made cloned milk seem like a pretty great idea! Whoops!

March 26, 2009 12:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I never comment on blogs but I am looking into all that I can about the topic of cloned meat and other products...the whole idea completely grosses me out.

I am foreign here in the States and I realize the government here is happy to let weird stuff into the food supply and cloning animals really doesn't surprise me.
What I am surprised by is how many people have no idea that the FDA has approved that this cloned food is able to be sold without having it be labled, and they did it over a year ago! And what also surprises me is that you folks on this site seem to think it's alright or that you "don't care"! Come on, are you sure you don't care? Now I am irate...

March 26, 2009 8:52 AM  
Anonymous Ship said...

While there is some success out there on cloned pigs (the second generation from the cloned animals appears to be healthy, as epigenetic flaws seem to disappear), there really is very little success on the cloned cow front. So any immediate concerns re: dairies and cloning are much ado about nothing.

Now concerns about pharmaceuticals and (introduced) hormones in dairy are something else again...

March 27, 2009 6:26 AM  
Blogger hema said...

Unfortunattely the video "ads" don't show up for me, although the page where they should be does. Might be because I'm in Canada.

I think the two most revealing quotes on the website are "In January 2008, government regulatory agencies declared milk and meat from cloned cows safe for human consumption." and "We’re so proud that our milk comes from cloned cows, we say it right on the label." I guess it's a hoax from a group wary about cloning, who want to (a) make people aware of this deregulation (and possibly generate some outrage), and (b) pressure the government to require such milk be labeled.

I think the website could be somewhat effective. I followed a link there knowing from the name that it must be a hoax, looking for a laugh, and I learned about the lack of regulation of cloned-animal products. I wasn't horrified (I'd probably drink that milk), but I do think such stuff should be labelled.

Consumers should be able to make decisions about what to eat -- whether those decisions are based on science, superstition, religion, or whatever. Just like,
while I'm not a vegetarian, I'm glad that all products containing meat are so labelled. Among other things, it protects the right of vegetarians not to eat meat.

March 27, 2009 7:27 AM  
Blogger Elizabeth said...

FYI - Today, in Union Square there are a couple people passing out free pints of Cyclone Dairy.

March 27, 2009 9:33 AM  
Blogger Tom Birkland said...

The fact that "samples" are being handed out in Union Square (SFO, I presume) suggests that this is a form of astroturfing/agenda building. I've not made up my mind on this, but it is a rather inspired stunt. But I wonder if the web site is just a shade too subtle--there were, early on, some outraged people on various blogs who apparently took this seriously. Which may well be the point, but it's issue for an issue to take on a life of its own once it's in the wild.

March 27, 2009 9:48 AM  
Blogger Mimi J said...

Much talk on this with colleagues today... Whether this company is real or fake (I lean towards fake, but I don't see the point of it), all the kneejerk FUD and way-cool marketing talk here is making more of this than it deserves. scnt has become mainstream since 1996...and, statements to the produce cows along with pigs and the everpopular sheep. (Even dogs!) High-producing livestock sell for many tens of thousands $ on market...yes, businesses use science for profit (gasp)....and yes, clones are doubtless in some foods today....

Once you've done your due PubMed diligence to get the facts of it, if what you're left with is the willies....fine...but don't spread it here. that's a gut reaction....What I want to know is: what really is the issue?

Is there anything special about cloning that demands real consideration?

As I see it, it breaks down to issues that are already under scrutiny....not to lessen them, but they're known....
1. reproductive tech generally.... lots of issues, but keep in mind we're talking animals not infertile people. Artificial insemination is already the rule in agriculture, it's nothing new, and cloning doesn't change the process
2. animal cruelty. again, no issues that AI....and of corse the use of animals for food...don't already bring.
3. longevity. that's the crux of it I think....SCNT just extends the life of a specific gene set, ethically no different from extending the life of an individual
4. food contamination. The products are genetically identical, so why would there be any new issue? And besides...this case is dairy.....that comes from cows old enough and healthy enough to have had calves, people, wouldn't diseases have a chance to exhibit? we're not talking about embryos or even veal here.... :)
5. "sanctity of life". no different from AI issue here, except maybe prolonging the gene set is actually helping value the life of the individual

Am I missing something or is there some special issue that makes cloning different from standard practices already in livestock agriculture? If not, then at least be honest about following your gut reaction and not an analysis of the science and ethics of it at all.
- Mel

March 27, 2009 1:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just came across this blog - I have also been trying to nail down what anti-cloning entity is behind this. For me the tell is the Q/A in the FAQ: "Are there any ethical issues...? No."

If and when someone nails this down can you let me know at - I gotta know, because I was certain it was Food & Water Watch, but I called them up and they categorically denied being behind it.



March 27, 2009 2:12 PM  
Blogger Tom Birkland said...

Mimi raises some good issues. I am a social scientist, not a biologist, so I'm pulling this out of thin air, but the only concern I really have about cloning is the potential on genetic diversity among livestock, much like GM crops are said to reduce genetic diversity in crops. Bottom line is that industrial agriculture is hardly natural now, so what's the big difference? Of course, this may well just be another application of the uncertainty principle.

March 27, 2009 4:36 PM  
Anonymous CMargulis said...

Mimi states there are no animal cruelty issues in cloning that other repro techs don’t bring. This is simply wrong: cloning has much higher rates of painful deformities, and common deformities that are rarely if ever seen in other techniques. Also, her statement that if cows are old enough to milk they must be safe is contradicted by repeated events of older clones suddenly and without warning taking ill and dying (in fact, one of the first-ever cloned cows returned to the farm for milking was nearly three years old when she inexplicably began losing weight, and died after losing more than half her body weight). To learn more see

March 29, 2009 9:19 AM  
Blogger Mimi J said...

thanks....this gives an overview of the science and policy, much more useful than raw FUD.....I am questioning the number of samples used, how much is it that the science/tech has still to progress...Can we be agreed then that in principle, cloning is no different than other tech? That is to say, it is longevity at the crux of the ethical question provided the details of cruelty and deformities were to have been worked out?

March 29, 2009 12:43 PM  
Anonymous CMargulis said...

Cloning can involve genetic material from three (or more) different animals - I'm not aware that any other technique does this; this can lead to abnormalities, as can other processes unique nin cloning (eg, methylation, see this study which found more variation in clones then would be expected if they were genetically

March 29, 2009 12:55 PM  

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