September 28, 2009
Factsheet on Animal Cloning
- A tremendous number of animals are used to produce each clone. Because 99 percent of cloning attempts fail to produce a healthy cloned animal, thousands of embryos and hundreds of egg 'donors' and surrogate mothers are used in cloning ventures.
- Cloning involves invasive and painful procedures. The egg 'donors' and/or surrogate mothers are subjected to painful hormone treatments to manipulate their reproductive cycles. These animals are also subjected to invasive surgery to harvest eggs or implant embryos, and the surrogate mothers endure an additional surgery to deliver the baby.
- Few cloned animals are born healthy. Cloned animals rarely survive birth. Of the few who are born alive, many suffer health problems and die soon thereafter. One pet cloning company CEO has stated that 15-45 percent of cloned cats who are born alive will die within 30 days.
- The long-term health of cloned animals is unknown. No cloned cat or dog has lived a full lifespan, so the health problems and veterinary needs they may experience later in life are completely unknown.
- Animals are kept in research environments. The "donor" and surrogate mother cats and dogs used in attempts to clone a pet are typically kept in small, sterile cages.
- There is little to no oversight of cloning activities. In the US, the pet cloning industry is not regulated like other research facilities that conduct experiments on animals. U.S. researchers and companies who clone cats and dogs for pets should be following the minimum standards of humane treatment and care for animals as outlined in the Animal Welfare Act, but the U.S. Department of Agriculture does not require them to do so. In addition, there is no way to know how many animals are used in cloning efforts beyond the published studies, or what they must endure as a result of the experiments.
- Animal life is devalued. Despite the high price to clone an animal, the animals involved in the cloning process are treated more as objects. Egg 'donors' and surrogate mothers are 'production units,' and it is unclear what happens to cloned animals who fail to meet expectations.