- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 28, 2006

HAGERSTOWN, Md. — The financially strapped owner of two cloned dairy cows said yesterday that he is still in a bind, despite the Food and Drug Administration’s decision that food from cloned animals is safe to eat.

Williamsport farmer Gregory C. Wiles said the slow pace of federal rule-making will prevent him from benefiting in a timely fashion from the policy change. The FDA will take several months to gather public comments on its proposal to allow sales of milk and meat from cloned livestock without special labeling. Meanwhile, the food industry’s voluntary ban on such products remains in effect.

Mr. Wiles, who faces eviction in a family business dispute, said that if he can’t find a new home for his cloned cows and their offspring within weeks, he probably will sell them for use in the human food chain despite the informal ban.

For nearly four years, Mr. Wiles has poured milk from his cloned cows, Genesis and Cyagra, down the drain in compliance with the voluntary ban.

“My goal is to hopefully find a facility where we can continue to milk the cows and keep these animals out of the food chain, but nobody’s found a solution yet other than to continue down the path whereby these animals will be put into the slaughterhouse,” Mr. Wiles said.

He said he expects to get an eviction notice Jan. 9 that would give him 30 days to remove the animals from the 200-acre farm owned by his father, Charles.

Gregory Wiles runs the farm but hasn’t paid rent in several months. He has gotten offers to have the cows placed in an animal sanctuary, and his father has said they should be killed and buried. But Mr. Wiles said the cows are part of the collateral for a farm loan and, therefore, have monetary value that should be realized — as either milk or hamburger.

Barb Glenn of the Biotechnology Industry Association, which favors using cloned livestock primarily for breeding instead of meat, said yesterday that Mr. Wiles should respect the voluntary ban.

“We support what he has done up until now. He’ll have to continue to withhold food [made] from these animals,” Miss Glenn said.

AP writer Libby Quaid in Washington contributed to this report.

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