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Biotechnology involves using technology to exploit animals, plants or other living organisms in a way deemed to be of use to people. It includes the use of techniques to genetically alter and clone animals.

close-up of microinjection © RSPCA Biotechnology is being applied around the world more widely than ever before in scientific research, healthcare, agriculture, and environmental protection - and it can involve millions of animals.

Our view on biotechnology

We're specifically concerned about genetic alteration and cloning. The techniques used to create genetically altered (GA) and cloned animals have huge potential to cause pain, suffering, distress and lasting harm to animals. This is because:

  • The techniques used are very inefficient - for every animal successfully created, many others will have lost their lives. 
  • Even the newest techniques cause suffering - the most up-to-date techniques used to create GA animals, which are said to be more 'precise', cause suffering, are inefficient and waste animal lives.
  • Animals aren't commodities - using animals in this way increases the perception of animals as 'research tools', 'commodities' or 'units of production' for human benefit, rather than the complex, sentient individuals that we know them to be. 

Developments in genome editing and cloning are progressing rapidly, with very little informed debate as to whether this is something the public want or need. The number of GA animals used in research and testing is increasing.

Find out more about genetically altered (GA) animals and cloned animals, including our concerns and what we're doing to help animals. 

You can also read our submission to the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council on future strategy for biotechnology and biological sciences, and our submission to the Nuffield Council on Bioethics on Genome Editing of Farmed Animals.

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