Sometimes, researchers and biologists attempt to produce a population of animals that are genetically identical to one another. Essentially, they are “copies” of an individual that is genetically advantaged or desirable for a certain situation, whether that’s an experiment, test, or agricultural or other use.
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, rabbits, cats, and dogs. The process is far from perfect, however, with only 1-4 percent of cloning attempts generally succeeding.
Despite such an abysmal record, there have been increasing efforts to clone animals for food, to clone pet cats and dogs, to clone endangered species and to clone animals for biomedical research.
The Risks of Cloning
With 96-99 percent of cloning attempts regularly causing death, deformities, or severe health problems, however, there is widespread recognition in the scientific and medical communities that cloning presents serious risks to the animals involved. But questions about the impact of cloning on animal welfare have yet to be adequately addressed, much less resolved.
Cloning is a remarkably inefficient and unpredictable technology that devalues animal life, treating these complex, sentient beings as mere commodities. We encourage you to support our efforts to protect animals from the threats of cloning. Please visit our campaign websites to learn more about cloned foods and pet cloning and what you can do to get involved.
The American Anti-Vivisection Society (AAVS) is opposed to animal cloning and is working to ensure that the threats that cloning poses to animal welfare, as well as other pressing moral and ethical questions related to cloning, are fully recognized and addressed.
As a result, AAVS has launched two campaigns to educate the public, media, and legislators about animal cloning.
End Animal Cloning seeks to keep meat and milk products from cloned animals and their offspring out of the human food and animal feed supply.
No Pet Cloning seeks to protect both animals and people from being exploited by companies attempting to ‘bring back’ a deceased companion animal.
 Campbell, K.H., McWhir, J., Ritchie, W.A., and Wilmut, I. (1996). Sheep cloned by nuclear transfer from a cultured cell line. Nature, 380, 64-66.
 Ortegon, H., Betts, D.H., Lin, L., Coppola, G., Perrault, S.D., Blondin, P., et al. (2007). Genomic stability and physiological assessments of lived offspring sired by a bull clone, Starbuck II. Theriogenology, 67(1), 116-126.
 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, 67(1), 134-141.
 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, 6(2), 94-100.
 Jaenisch, R. (2004). Human Cloning The Science and Ethics of Nuclear Transplantation. New England Journal of Medicine, 351, 2787-2791. http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/extract/351/27/2787