The BUAV has today raised concerns about the airing on national TV tonight of a competition for UK dog owners to win a clone of their beloved dog. We hope that Channel 4 will portray a realistic view of the science of cloning, the moral and ethical issues it raises and the animal suffering it causes.
South Korean cloning company, Sooam Biotech Research Foundation, has been cloning dogs mainly for U.S. customers. Now, in an effort to expand into the British market, the company has run a competition where animal lovers were asked to submit an essay explaining why their dog should be cloned. The winning applicant has had her dog cloned for free and travelled to South Korea to see the process.
Cloning is a very unpredictable and extremely wasteful process. In order to produce just one ‘perfect’ clone, many puppies with the same genes as a loved animal will be born. Some of these puppies will be aborted or will die soon after birth from unpredictable health complications and severe birth defects.
In addition, a large number of egg donor and surrogate female dogs are also used in this cruel process and subjected to surgical procedures as well as caesarean sections and miscarriages that are likely to cause pain and considerable distress.
As well as the number of dogs killed in the cloning process, many other innocent animals will previously have been subjected to cruel cloning research experiments in these laboratories in attempts to improve cloning techniques.
The cloning project is headed by former stem cell researcher Hwang Woo-suk, who was previously given a two year suspended prison sentence in 2009 for embezzlement and bioethical violations. Some of his papers related to cloning had to be retracted as they were found to have been falsified.
The BUAV previously urged people not to enter the competition and to be aware of the suffering and death involved in attempts to produce each clone. We are disappointed to see that Channel 4 has chosen to air this programme and we hope that it portrays a realistic view of the science of cloning and the moral and ethical issues it raises.
To find out more the BUAV’s campaign to end the use of cats and dogs in experiments please visit
www.ourbestfriends.org The £60,000 puppy: Cloning Man’s Best Friend airs on Channel 4 at 10pm tonight, Wednesday 9th April 2014.