Cloning has raised a lot of ethical questions since Dolly the Sheep was the first mammal to be successfully cloned on February 22, 1997. The debates that are central to cloning include:
- Is the technology really advanced enough to be deemed safe?
- Could this technology be abused?
- Does cloning negatively impact biodiversity?
The list goes on though, especially where the topic of cloning humans is concerned. But what of cloning horses?
The benefits to cloning horses boils down to genetic preservation. If you have a gelding (a castrated male for my non-equestrians), or a mare with reproductive issues that prevents her from being bred, or if you own a really amazing horse that unfortunately passes away, cloning could be the way to go for you. As a horse owner and lifelong equestrian, I would not be opposed to cloning my own horses.
The FEI (Féderation Equestre Internationale) initially was opposed to clones, but they lifted their ban in 2012 and now allow clones even in Olympic events. The American Quarter Horse Association, the U.S. Trotting Association, and the Jockey Club still don’t even allow artificial insemination, and are against clones. The polo world, however, is not only permitting them, but flourishing with them.
The first horse was cloned back in 2003, and now it’s gaining traction. Cloning certainly isn’t cheap, and there really isn’t a guarantee that your horse’s clone will be an exact replica (nature vs. nurture isn’t just for humans), but that hasn’t stopped this man.