The Kennel Club has insisted it is “strongly against” the cloning of dogs.
Speaking ahead of the broadcast of Channel 4’s documentary The £60,000 Puppy: Cloning Man’s Best Friend on April 9, the club said the principle of canine cloning “runs contrary” to its objective of promoting “in every way” the general improvement of dogs.
In the programme, filmmakers followed a competition where a British dog owner won the chance to have their beloved pooch cloned.
According to The Kennel Club, cloning currently involves invasive procedures, such as surgically implanting an embryo into the bitch used to carry the clone. However, because of “poor” success rates, this procedure can often be repeated multiple times in many different bitches to produce a successful outcome. Therefore, said the club, the dog carrying the embryos would suffer the effects of unsuccessful pregnancies, such as losing embryos and newborns.
The Kennel Club secretary Caroline Kisko said: “People may turn to cloning when faced with the loss of a beloved pet and the need to replicate the emotional bond they have with their dog, but unfortunately this comes at a price and the price is the welfare implications involved in cloning.
“It is important to remember cloning can only replicate genetic material and cloned animals will most likely develop different personalities and be a very different dog to the dog that is cloned. In addition to this, there is a high probability of abnormality in the puppy if things go wrong.”
Ms Kisko said the club is “genuinely shocked” at the concept of the Channel 4 programme’s competition, and the “trivialisation” of cloning.
“We believe most caring dog owners will be [too],” she said.
“The idea the emotional bond with a dog that has passed away is being put above the welfare of the dog or dogs involved in producing the cloned pet is appalling.
“The ethics involved in this are undoubtedly questionable and we would urge people to take a stand against the practice.”