After denying proposals to clone horses in 2004 (see this article for more background), Great Britain approved a plan by Professor Twink Allen of Cambridge University to clone horses.
Allen wants to clone horses, in part, to better understand and improve the genetic selection process in creating racing horses. The government had previously denied his requests on the grounds that the benefits outweighed the possible harm done to the cloned animals. Allen, in turn, accuse the government of caving to animal rights activists.
The government approved his latest request, but the approval stipulates that Allen cannot clone champion race horses.
Allen had mixed feelings about the government finally approving his research, telling Cambridge News,
I’m very pleased, but disappointed they haven’t gone the whole hog and allowed us sensibly to clone for commercial reasons, where there is a real need for it.
Allen will carry out tests in which he hopes to mitigate the problem associated with cloning other animals. He told Cambridge News,
If by doing these we can show that we don’t turn out a bunch of abnormal, suffering animals, my opponents might be able to have their minds changed.
If by opponents he’s talking about animal rights activists, Allen should save his breath. As Andrew Tyler of Animal Aid told Cambridge News, activists consider any such cloning to be an abomination,
This [research] is grotesque and the start of a slippery slope. Prof. Allen has already conducted experiments that turn the stomach. The Home Office originally rejected this application and for good reason.
Scientist gets go-ahead for horse cloning ban. Cambridge news, March 31, 2005.
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