Re: Cows are gender predetermined by science

Brian Atkins (
Thu, 01 Jul 1999 00:52:13 -0400

I think that is old news... here is one from almost a year ago:

Gina Miller wrote:
> Birth of a revolution As scientists find a way to choose the sex of unborn
> calves, campaigners fear human babies could be next
> They are the first cows in Europe to have their gender predetermined by
> scientists who have perfected a way of separating male and female
> chromosomes in cattle sperm.
> It will allow Britain's 30,000 dairy farmers to choose to produce only
> female calves, rather than having to waste money rearing unwanted males or
> having them slaughtered at only a few days old.
> Experts have admitted the same technique could be applied to human babies,
> raising the prospect of parents choosing the sex of a child before
> conception.
> Yesterday, concerns were being voiced over its ethical implications, and
> there were calls for a ban on its use to determine the sex of human embryos.
> At present around 600,000 unwanted dairy bulls are born each year in the UK,
> and following the end of the veal export trade the vast majority are
> slaughtered within days.
> The three pioneering calves, named Charity, Clover and Chloe, were born on a
> farm in Cheshire last month after having their gender pre- selected using
> the advanced artificial insemination technology.
> Every sperm carries either a male-producing Y chromosome or a
> female-producing X chromosome, the latter carrying a slightly larger amount
> of DNA.
> Computerised sensors pass a beam of light through each sperm, identifying
> the 'males' and 'females' and separating them using a tiny positive or
> negative magnetic charge.
> The method is 90 per cent reliable, which for farmers is a huge improvement
> on the 50/50 gender split in natural births.
> Scientists hope the technique will be commercially available within two
> years, following trials carried out by Cogent, an English cattle-breeding
> firm working with its American sister company XY Inc.
> Martin Hall, a spokesman for Cogent, said: 'This is an extraordinary
> development in the history of cattle breeding. It is something that dairy
> farmers have wanted for years.' Dairy farmer Paul Moore said since female
> calves generally weigh less the technique would make first-time pregnancies
> easier for cows. 'Sorted semen will reduce the number of unwanted bull
> calves as well as the number of difficult births,' he said.
> Each year the government spends millions of pounds subsidising the slaughter
> and incineration of male calves, but widespread use of the processed sperm
> would mean the doomed calves would not be born at all.
> The National Farmers' Union has welcomed the technique, pointing to the
> benefits to animal welfare as well as farmers.
> Two years ago the Farm Animal Welfare Council backed the use of such methods
> to reduce the number of male calves going to the slaughterhouse.
> But their potential use in human births has sparked a fierce backlash from
> pro-life campaigners.
> Dr Mervin Jacobson, president of Colarado-based XY Inc., admitted:
> 'Scientifically it's correct that humans are also mammals and therefore our
> system would work on humans. But our own company is only licensed for
> non-human mammals.' At present UK law forbids choosing the sex of an embryo
> unless there are strong medical rather than social reasons. Some couples
> have already exploited a legal loophole by sending sperm to America to be
> processed.
> Jack Scarisbrick, chairman of the charity Life, said yesterday: 'I am very
> nervous of further manipulation of nature.
> 'In the past, advances have been tested on animals and later used in humans,
> such as with in-vitro fertilisation. This latest manipulation of animal
> births breaks down one more barrier.
> 'I fear it could lead to a form of consumerism, treating children as objects
> produced to order, instead of as gifts we should welcome with love and awe.'
> Mr Scarisbrick said it was already common in some countries to 'choose' the
> sex of a child by aborting unwanted females.
> 'If you can argue that in cattle this technique saves the male calves from
> slaughter, you could also argue that it would save baby girls from abortion,
> or claim that the mother should have the freedom to choose. 'It is a
> terribly dangerous road to start down.'
> Gina "Nanogirl" Miller
> Nanotechnology Industries
> Web:
> E-mail:
> Alternate E-mail
> "Nanotechnology: solutions for the future."

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