Cloning is the term commonly used to refer to a procedure known as somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT), the procedure which was first used to
create Dolly the sheep in 1996.
Since then, researchers have 'copied' a number of different animals, including cows, pigs, goats, horses, mice, cats, and dogs.
The process is far from perfected, however, with only 1-4% of cloning attempts, if any, generally succeeding.
Despite such an abysmal record, the FDA has moved one step closer to allowing animal clones out of the lab and into the grocery store. In December 2006, the FDA announced
the completion of its draft risk assessment, concluding that milk and meat from cloned animals and their offspring should be safe to consume.
If the draft is upheld, cloned food products will be allowed on the market, and the FDA will likely not require that these products be labeled.
Food safety, however, is only one of the many issues that need to be examined before such a decision can be made. With 96-99% of cloning attempts regularly
causing death or severe health problems, for example, there is widespread recognition in the scientific and medical communities that cloning presents serious risks to the
But questions about the impact of cloning on animal welfare have yet to be adequately addressed, much less resolved.
The American Anti-Vivisection Society (AAVS) is opposed to animal cloning and is working to ensure that the federal government engages in a public discussion about the threats that
cloning poses to animal welfare, as well as other pressing moral and ethical questions related to cloning, before food from cloned animals are allowed on the market. Cloning is a remarkably
inefficient and unpredictable technology, and products from cloned animals and their offspring should be banned from the human food and animal feed supply.
Campbell, K.H., McWhir, J., Ritchie, W.A., and Wilmut, I. (1996). Sheep cloned by nuclear transfer from a cultured cell line. Nature
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Ortegon, H., Betts, D.H., Lin, L., Coppola, G., Perrault, S.D., Blondin, P., et al. (2007). Genomic stability and physiological assessments of live offspring sired by a bull clone, Starbuck II. Theriogenology
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Paterson, L. (2002). Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer (Cloning) Efficiency. Retrieved Oct. 2006, from http://www.roslin.ac.uk/downloads/webtablesGR.pdf
Ortegon, et al. (2007). See note 2.
Heyman, Y., Chavatte-Palmer, P., Berthelot,V., Fromentin, G., Hocquette, J.F., Martignat, L., and Renard, J.P. (2007). Assessing the quality of products derived from cloned cattle: An integrative approach. Theriogenology
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Chavatte-Palmer, P., Remy,D., Cordonnier, N., Richard, C., Issenman, H., Laigre, P., et al. (2004). Health status of cloned cattle at different ages. Cloning and Stem Cells
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Jaenisch, R. (2004). Human Cloning: The Science and Ethics of Nuclear Transplantation. New England Journal of Medicine
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