Why oppose pet cloning?
Adopt a clone
Recent Pet Cloning News
FAQs
Media Inquiries
Resources



19
Dogs & cats have entered a shelter in the U.S. since this page was opened.


Consumer Fraud

Most people have strong bonds with their cats and/or dogs and, therefore, have difficulty coping with their companion animals’ terminal illnesses or deaths. In fact, grief counseling for individuals who have experienced such a loss is becoming more common.

Pet cloning companies exploit such tender emotions and lead the public to believe that deceased pets can be ‘resurrected’ through new cloning technology. According to one firm’s website, “Veterinarians have also told us that gene banking can provide relief to clients facing the death of an exceptional pet. Because gene banking gives a pet owner the option to clone the animal later, it allows the client to focus on grieving the loss of the individual pet, without letting go of the exceptional genetics.”

This means that pet cloning companies can profit from people who, in moments of grief, are probably confused—people who will at least pay hundreds of dollars to bank their animals’ DNA, even if they later decide against investing tens of thousands of dollars to clone the animal. The bottom line: pet cloning companies are profiting each year from individuals who have been promised that dog cloning will soon be possible, yet not one dog has ever survived cloning. Further, they likely are not aware of the experimental nature of cat cloning and the animal suffering it inevitably involves.

Appearance and Behavior

Most people assume that a cloned animal is virtually a ‘carbon-copy.’ However, animal cloning experiments have revealed otherwise. While a cloned animal is genetically identical to the original animal, there is no guarantee that the he or she will physically resemble the original animal. [1] [2] Despite one company’s announcement of improved cloning technology resulting in two Bengal kittens who appear to look alike, it has yet to be proven that cloned animals who are mixed breeds or otherwise have non-uniform hair coat patterns will look like the original animal.

In addition, there is no assurance that an animal will share any other traits (such as behavior/personality) with the original animal, unless a behavior is breed-specific. Cloning scientists at Texas A&M University compared the behavior of cloned and naturally bred pigs and found that, “…the goal of using nuclear transfer to replicate animals to reproduce certain behavioral characteristics is an unrealistic expectation.”[3]

In another published paper, the authors from Texas A&M state, “This finding is contrary to the expectation that cloning can be used to reduce the size of groups involved in animal experimentation and to reproduce an animal, including a pet, with a homogenous set of desired traits.” [2] It has not been indicated that the chromatin transfer technique improves physical or behaviorally similarities between cloned animals and their genetic counterparts.[4] Even though at least one company claims to have a “money back guarantee” on animals, the result may be only disappointment and unwanted animals.

Health

According to published scientific studies, the odds are strongly against a cloned animal being born alive and healthy.[4][5][6] Of those who survive, many suffer from unpredictable health problems which may not appear early in life.[7] For instance, Dolly the sheep suffered an early onset of arthritis and at the young age of six years old, had to be euthanized after developing lung cancer.

One pet cloning company CEO states that 15-45% of cloned cats who are born alive will die within 30 days.[8] Because the first cloned cat was just born in 2001, no one knows the potential health problems that could arise, and companion animal veterinarians have not been trained in the specialized care that these animals may require.

See also: Animal Welfare

No Government Oversight

Although there is now federal oversight for cloning companies that sell animals wholesale, pet cloning companies, which sell companion animals to the public, are still unregulated. In addition, these types of pet cloning companies are not subject to government oversight for any of their cloning activities. For example, no one outside of the labs knows the success rates or the conditions faced by animals who were part of failed cloning attempts. The Roslin Institute, where Dolly was cloned, has posted a statement against pet cloning on its website stating, "...the supposed benefit of cloning a pet is an illusion and the harm to the other animals involved would be real.."[9]

References
[1] "Cloned Pigs Differ from Originals in Looks and Behavior" North Carolina State University, 4/11/03.

[2] Archer, G.S., Dindot, S., Friend, T.H., Walker, S., Zaunbrecher, G., Lawhorn, B., and Piedrahita, J.A. 2003. Hierarchical Phenotypic and Epigenetic Variation in Cloned Swine. Biology of Reproduction, 69:430–436.

[3] Archer, G.S., Friend, T.H., Piedrahita, J., Nevill, C.H., and Walker, S. 2003. Behavioral variation among cloned pigs [Erratum]. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 82(2):151-161.

[4] Sullivan, E.J., Kasinathan, S., Kasinathan, P., Robl, J., and Collas, P. 2004. Cloned calves from chromatin remodeled in vitro. Biology of Reproduction. 70:146-153.

[5] Tamada, H. and Kikyo, N. 2004. Nuclear reprogramming in mammalian somatic cell nuclear cloning Cytogenetic and Genome Research, 105:285-291.

[6] Paterson, L., DeSousa, P., Ritchie, W., King, T., and Wilmut, I. 2003. Application of reproductive biotechnology in animals: implications and potentials. Applications of reproductive cloning. Animal Reproduction Science, 79(3-4):137-143.

[7] Rideout, W.M., Eggan, K., and Jaenisch, R. 2001. Nuclear Cloning and Epigenetic Reprogramming of the Genome. Science, 293:1093-1098.

[8] "First Cloned Cat Sold in U.S." Associated Press, 12/23/04.

[9] "Cloning of Pets" Roslin Institute, 8/12/02.




Explotation
Pet cloning companies are exploiting people who cannot come to terms with the loss of their companion animal.

No Guarantees
There is no guarantee that a cloned animal will resemble the original animal in either appearance or behavior.

Health Problems
There are no long term data to demonstrate that cloned animals will live average, healthy life spans.

Real Science?
The pet cloning industry is unregulated and lacks support from many well-known scientific researchers and institutions.







“...the supposed benefit of cloning a pet is an illusion and the harm to the other animals involved would be real….”
Roslin Institute
© Copyright 2010 - American Anti-Vivisection Society - info@nopetcloning.org