In an essay describing why she decided to clone Samantha, Barbra said: “It was easier to let Sammie go if I knew I could keep some part of her alive, something that came from her DNA.”
It seems like a long time since Dolly the sheep, the first animal ever cloned, was born. But the technology needed to clone animals is hardly ordinary and routine. I’m not even sure such procedures are regulated. Yet, Barbra Streisand happily used modern scientific procedures to copy the exact DNA of her favorite dog to create puppies. So, it only makes sense that Barbra is a champion of science, a defender of modern practices, and a voice promoting the possibilities of DNA; right?
At least, not when it comes to agriculture. Barbra is no fan of modern production methods, including the use of genetically modified crops (GMOs). She was a supporter of California’s Prop 37, which would have demonized biotechnology by requiring labels on all foods containing GMOs. The blog on her website routinely publishes stories celebrating anti-GMO activists and championing organic agriculture. She has even published lies that GMOs are hurting bees, butterflies, and birds.
The hypocrisy is evident. Unlike pet cloning, GMOs are heavily regulated, thoroughly researched, and have been safely used for over 20 years. There is scientific consensus that the use of genetically modified foods is safe.
Perhaps the real tragedy here is how Barbra’s misguided opinions hurt low-income families. She can afford to blow $50,000 to clone a pet, but most people cannot. For those struggling to make ends meet, her support of organic-only, anti-GMO propaganda scares consumers out of purchasing safe, affordable food. This is the problem we see so often: affluent celebrities demonize technology that produces low-priced, quality goods and food for the average consumer, while they personally accept pricey science when it suits them.
Listen, I totally understand Barbra’s decision. If I had more money than I knew what to do with, I may have considered cloning my favorite pets, too. But I also don’t parade around telling everyone how awful scientific advancement is, especially in agriculture, unless it suits me.
It is time for Barbra to change her position on GMOs and the same scientific advancements that allowed her to keep a piece of her precious pet.