Sacramento, CA (August 3, 2005) – In response to the announcement today in the journal Nature that South Korean scientists successfully created the world’s first cloned dog, United Animal Nations (UAN) strongly denounced cloning research that forces laboratory animals to suffer and threatens the value of life.
“We have been dreading this announcement,” remarked UAN president and CEO Jennifer Fearing. “Scientists involved with animal cloning readily acknowledge the pain and suffering this highly inefficient and invasive process involves. And knowing that dogs have been suffering in various labs across the world during the race to see who could clone one first has been unsettling, to say the least.”
The Nature article reports that the South Korean scientists, led by Woo Suk Hwang, successfully cloned two Afghan hounds through nuclear transfer from adult skin cells. The scientists report that they surgically impregnated 123 surrogate dogs with 1,095 embryos, resulting in only three pregnancies, two deliveries and one puppy surviving the first month of life.
The scientists describe the first cloned dog as having been born via caesarian section from a yellow Labrador surrogate mother. The second cloned dog was born to a mixed-breed surrogate dog. The puppy born to this mother experienced “neonatal respiratory distress during the first week” and died on day 22 “as a result of aspiration pneumonia.” No information is provided as to the status of the only living puppy.
UAN is a co-founder of Californians Against Pet Cloning, a coalition focused on educating veterinarians and the public. The coalition also sponsored AB 1428, a bill to ban the retail sale of cloned and genetically modified pets in California. The bill stalled in committee this legislative session, but will be reconsidered in January 2006.
“The announcement of the first dog clone only strengthens our resolve to pass AB 1428,” said Fearing. “While scientists will argue about the therapeutic and research value of animal cloning, we will fight vigorously to keep this technology from being used in trivial ways that forces animals to suffer and manipulates confused or grieving pet lovers.”
Founded in 1987, United Animal Nations (UAN) is the nation’s leading provider of emergency animal sheltering and disaster relief and a key advocate for the critical needs of companion animals.