Good news coming out of the European Union (EU) recently is that it is proposing a 5-year ban on the cloning of farm animals and livestock. However, the EU is fine with other animals being cloned, including sports animals like racehorses and fighting bulls. Why is it ok to clone these animals? Who knows, really, but the reason why the ban is so limited is considered to be due to politics.

“Sadly, it would seem that the political will simply isn’t there,” the League Against Cruel Sports writes. “Although what has been proposed is a great step forward for animal welfare, the failure to support all-encompassing legislation suggests that the EU is afraid of ‘upsetting’ influential lobby groups.”

Cloning animals for any reason sounds like a very bad idea to me. But cloning animals for fighting and racing? Do we have any moral sense?

Cloning animals is not particularly new, but it is also not without clear problems. Obvious problems so far have been growth problems and short lifespans. “Some scientists believe that errors or incompleteness in the reprogramming process cause the high rates of death, deformity, and disability observed among animal clones,” the Human Genome Project reports.

While the EU seems a little more concerned about the health effects of cloning and how those could potentially transfer to humans who ate the meat or dairy of cloned animals, the US Food and Drug Administration approved of food coming from cloned animals a couple years ago. Given the poor life span and health problems of many cloned animals, some are opposed to this approval for moral reasons and others, noting the FDA’s lack of research on the safety of consuming such food, also oppose the inclusion of cloned animals in the US food supply.

Once again, it looks like the US will be participating in a health experiment while the EU looks on.

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Photo Credit: pmorgan via flickr (CC license)