Cloning is a serious concern. The process involves scientific procedures that can cause pain, suffering and distress to the animals.
How are animals cloned?
The cloning process usually involves removing the genetic information, known as DNA, from a cell taken from one animal, and placing this into an unfertilised egg that has had its own DNA removed. This egg is then artificially stimulated to start developing into an embryo and placed into a surrogate mother, who will eventually give birth to it. See our simple graphic: The cloning process (PDF 82.8KB)
Why are animals cloned?
Cloning techniques are used to try and produce exact ‘copies’ of a particular animal (which might still be alive, or may have already died). The use of cloning technology is often justified by statements that the research could lead to cheaper methods of producing medical treatments and food products.
Cloning techniques have also been, or are being used, to create ‘copies’ of:
What we think
We believe these purposes are completely unacceptable. Given that the cloning process involves subjecting animals to painful and distressing procedures, surely there can be no justification for cloning animals for such frivolous purposes?
Animals should not be cloned just because the technology exists to do so.
Dr Nikki Osborne, biotechnology specialist, RSPCA.
- The first cloned mammal successfully produced using a cell taken from another animal was ‘Dolly the sheep’ - born in 1996.
- The growing list of species to have now been cloned includes mice, pigs, goats, dogs, cats, horses and mules.
- Fewer than five per cent of cloned embryos usually survive to birth.
- Where animals are born alive, they often have breathing problems, tumours, liver defects or other abnormalities, and have a reduced lifespan.
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