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Cloned steer this year’s 4-H grand champion at Iowa State Fair

The 4-H Grand Champion Steer, Doc, at this year’s Iowa State Fair is a clone of the 2008 Champion, Wade, the first time a cloned animal has won at the fair. The incident is raising questions about the fairness of using the expensive breeding technique in a youth competition. Doc was shown by Tyler Faber, whose father, David, is president of Trans Ova Genetics of Sioux Center, IA. The firm specializes in advanced livestock breeding techniques, including cloning.

“The steer was cloned and shown at the fair to highlight cloning and what it can do,” David Faber said. Mike Anderson, the 4-H livestock judging director, said judges didn’t know Doc was a clone when they made him champion earlier this month. “But it’s not against the rules,” he said. David Faber said Doc was registered as a clone, and noted the 1,320 pound steer was not identical to Wade, who weighed 10 pounds less when he won.

David Faber said there is a “misconception that a clone is an automatic replica that can produce a champion. In reality, the animal must still be cared for and shown skillfully in order to win.” Anderson said he doubted the rules would be changed to address the issue, although the issue might be discussed at a State Fair board meeting in October.

The Associated Press reported that “some critics in the livestock industry questioned the fairness of entering a clone in the competition, noting that cloning costs $15,000 – $20,000 per embryo. But they didn’t complain openly because they said cloning is a legitimate breeding technique they didn’t want cast in a negative light.”

The 4-H Grand Champion Steer, Doc, at this year’s Iowa State Fair is a clone of the 2008 Champion, Wade, the first time a cloned animal has won at the fair. The incident is raising questions about the fairness of using the expensive breeding technique in a youth competition. Doc was shown by Tyler Faber, whose father, David, is president of Trans Ova Genetics of Sioux Center, IA. The firm specializes in advanced livestock breeding techniques, including cloning.

“The steer was cloned and shown at the fair to highlight cloning and what it can do,” David Faber said. Mike Anderson, the 4-H livestock judging director, said judges didn’t know Doc was a clone when they made him champion earlier this month. “But it’s not against the rules,” he said. David Faber said Doc was registered as a clone, and noted the 1,320 pound steer was not identical to Wade, who weighed 10 pounds less when he won.

David Faber said there is a “misconception that a clone is an automatic replica that can produce a champion. In reality, the animal must still be cared for and shown skillfully in order to win.” Anderson said he doubted the rules would be changed to address the issue, although the issue might be discussed at a State Fair board meeting in October.

The Associated Press reported that “some critics in the livestock industry questioned the fairness of entering a clone in the competition, noting that cloning costs $15,000 – $20,000 per embryo. But they didn’t complain openly because they said cloning is a legitimate breeding technique they didn’t want cast in a negative light.”


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