The announcement by Korean scientists of the first-ever cloning of a dog is bad news for dogs, and further demonstrates the significant animal welfare problems associated with cloning. The sole surviving puppy faces an uncertain future, as other cloned animals have been plagued by health complications resulting in their premature deaths.
This experiment strongly reinforces the scientific consensus that animal cloning is consistently inefficient and results in traumatic animal suffering. According to the dog cloning study to be published in Nature August 4, 2005, multiple cloned embryos were transplanted into each of 123 dogs resulting in only three pregnancies and two live births. Of the two cloned Afghan hound male puppies, one survived; the other suffered respiratory distress and succumbed to aspiration pneumonia at three weeks of age.
In broader terms, this extremely inefficient pet cloning methodology may lead to misuse of pet cloning for profit and could seriously compromise the welfare of countless dogs. The American Anti-Vivisection Society is particularly concerned about the situation in the U.S. where pet cloning is unregulated, and the industry has been aggressively marketing pet cloning to veterinarians and potential consumers. AAVS, anticipating this event, has led a series of efforts to prohibit pet cloning and educate the public, including producing a report detailing the dangers of pet cloning, co-sponsored legislation in California to prohibit the sale of cloned pets, filing a petition with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) requesting regulation, continuing to meet with USDA, and keeping the media and consumers informed about the issue.
AAVS’s position against pet cloning is supported by public opinion. A poll conducted in 2004 demonstrated that over 80% of the public did not favor the cloning of pets such as cats and dogs. The results of this AAVS study echo the results from previous studies.