Breeding News

WBFSH statement on cloning

With the clear purpose of ending up with a WBFSH statement on cloning, the item was discussed at a joint meeting of the Board and the Executive Committee in Brussels in March 2007.

Currently there is no legislation that prohibits cloning. The method is used broadly, in the medical industry, in agriculture, as part of future welfare and health solutions, and as a method of breeding.

The Board and the Executive Committee wish to adopt a pragmatic attitude towards cloning although basically the ethics of the method are considered doubtful and despite the fact that breeding progress as a result of cloning is estimated to be limited if any. Breeding progress is connected with the generational change.

It is not likely that future legislation is going to forbid cloning. Thus, the individual studbook needs to decide whether clones can be part of the breed improvement programme or not. It is likely, though, that future EU-legislation will prescribe a formal registration of clones as it already prescribes registration of all horses.
Such registration would open up a possibility to follow the clones closely and to see if they actually could have a positive impact in the sport and/or in the breed.

However, when or if registering the clones, it is very important that the name of the clone includes the word clone, and that the passport of the clone has very clear indications of the origin (for instance breeder of the donor and producer of the clone).

If studbooks choose to allow clones and their offspring to enter the breed improvement program of the studbook, it is recommended that they be tested as individuals and not just accepted as being equal to their donors in performance.

The WBFSH will be pressing the European Union for legislation in the field of cloning.