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Ethical Issues in Animal Cloning

The issue of human reproductive cloning has recently received a great deal attention in public discourse. Bioethicists, policy makers, and the media have been quick to identify the key ethical issues involved in human reproductive cloning and to argue, almost unanimously, for an international ban on such attempts. Meanwhile, scientists have proceeded with extensive research agendas in the cloning of animals. Despite this research, there has been little public discussion of the ethical issues raised by animal cloning projects. Polling data show that the public is decidedly against the cloning of animals. To understand the public's reaction and fill the void of reasoned debate about the issue, we need to review the possible objections to animal cloning and assess the merits of the anti–animal cloning stance. Some objections to animal cloning (e.g., the impact of cloning on the population of unwanted animals) can be easily addressed, while others (e.g., the health of cloned animals) require more serious attention by the public and policy makers.