In March last year the Farm Animal Welfare Council was asked by MAFF to consider the possible implications of cloning for the welfare of farmed livestock. We were also asked to address whether the technique raised any further moral or ethical issues. Our advice was passed to Agriculture Ministers in August and I am pleased it is now published as a FAWC report which, I believe, contains information and recommendations that are of interest to a wide audience.
We adopted a strategy similar to that applied by the Kennedy Committee considering xenotransplantation. If we concluded that cloning of farmed livestock was ethically unacceptable, all other questions would fall away. However, we found no aspect of cloning by nuclear transfer to be intrinsically objectionable to the extent that it might be considered something that should not be done at all. Accepting that the procedure in itself is not objectionable, we propose a number of safeguards which need to be in place if the welfare of farm animals is to be protected.
I hope the Government will find this report useful and the Council looks forward to receiving a formal response in due course.
Professor Sir Colin Spedding
Farm Animal Welfare Council