What is cloning?
The aim of cloning is to produce genetically identical copies of an animal.
Cloning involves collecting a cell from the animal that is to be cloned (called the ‘donor cell’) and transferring it into an egg cell that has been removed from another animal. The donor cell and the egg cell are fused by an electrical pulse and from this a cloned embryo is developed.
Once a cloned embryo has been produced, it is implanted into a surrogate (substitute) mother who carries out the pregnancy. This is an invasive process. In pigs the transfer of the embryo into the surrogate mother is performed by a surgical procedure. In cattle, embryo transfer is sufficiently stressful for UK law to require a general or epidural anaesthetic.
Why is cloning an animal welfare issue?
Scientific research shows cloning often involves severe suffering both for the surrogate mothers and for the clones themselves.