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STATEMENT FROM AAVS—December 23, 2004

RECENT PET CLONING ACTIVITIES REVEAL
GROWING THREAT

The story in today's news about a woman in Texas buying a cloned cat only reports one side of the pet cloning issue. According to a survey commissioned by the American Anti-Vivisection Society (AAVS), 80 percent of those surveyed said they were opposed to cloning cats and dogs and 84 percent of the respondents feel that corporations should not be allowed to sell genetically engineered animals as pets. There are four fundamental arguments against pet cloning:

1. Suffering animals.

Animal cloning experiments have demonstrated that for every 100 embryos implanted, only .5 to 4 percent survive pregnancy—the majority die after conception. The survivors are often deformed, need constant medical care or are euthanized. To clone a pet, several animals are used in the corporation's laboratory as 'surrogate mothers.' These animals are injected with hormones and implanted with cloned embryos, risking their lives due to the likelihood of miscarriage. Scientific studies in Science magazine and elsewhere have cited the fact that cloned animals display birth defects leading to premature death mostly from respiratory distress and circulatory problems. Even those appearing healthy can suffer from immune dysfunction or malformation of the brain or kidneys. The most frequent ailment of cloned animals that survive is being overgrown.

2. No oversight.

Pet cloning experiments are under no direct veterinary oversight, and there is no minimum standard of care. In other circumstances where dogs and cats are used in experiments, the institution must abide by federal regulations regarding animal care and use. These experiments also are not conducted in conjunction with academic institutions, nor do they attempt to advance the health and well-being of companion animals.

3. Overpopulation of pets.

With the overpopulation of pets and lack of public support, it seems questionable for pets to be cloned. There are millions of cats and dogs in local animal shelters that are euthanized annually because they cannot find good homes.

4. Consumer fraud.

What you see may not be what you get. Cloned cats may not have the same fur color or markings, behavioral patterns, and certainly will not be raised under the exact conditions. Certain breeds might offer the illusion of identical appearance, but this is due to the breed, not cloning. Therefore, it is impossible to clone your cat. The pet cloning industry preys upon people who are faced with the loss of their beloved companion animals and offers unrealistic expectations.

Explore our website, www.NoPetCloning.org for the facts on pet cloning, or contact AAVS Senior Policy Analyst, Crystal Spiegel at 215-887-0816 Ext. 351 or cspiegel@aavs.org.

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