Pieraz-Cryozootech-Stallion. PIERRE VERDY/AFP/Getty Images.

Cloning horses creates mixed emotions for Thoroughbred industry and advocates

Written by BRITTANY PELLETZ

Cross-posted from WKYT CBS News Lexington

Pieraz-Cryozootech-Stallion. PIERRE VERDY/AFP/Getty Images.
Horse cloning is not a revolutionary idea just coming to the forefront. A representative of cloning company Cryozootech poses with a cloned horse Pieraz-Cryozootech-Stallion, during its presentation to the press 12 May 2006, at Rambouillet. PIERRE VERDY/AFP/Getty Images.

People are paying top dollar for foals, who are not bred on the farm but instead inside of a lab.

Cloning has created some controversy, but supporters say there is nothing wrong with it.

Despite technological advancements, many in the thoroughbred industry are more concerned with upholding tradition.

“I think cloning and artificial insemination definitely would take away from the purity of the thoroughbred breed in my opinion,” says Case Clay, President of Three Chimneys Farm in Woodford County. Continue reading >>

So what do you think?

There are some who say it will add even more to the steady flow of horses we do not have enough homes and careers for, and they will go the way of too many others — painfully destroyed at a slaughterhouse.

Others argue that cloning may curb current rampant breeding practices since horses only with a proven track record of success will be reproduced which takes the guesswork and experimentation out of breeding, so many cut the numbers.

Although opinions vary concerning cloned horses, particularly when it comes to durability, it is typically accepted that cloned horses have a shorter lifespan than a naturally bred horse. Could that be a positive effect in a society where breeders and owners get rid of horses either by slaughter or dumping them on someone else to take care of when they no longer want them.

If members of the breed registry the American Quarter Horse Association, who allows artificial insemination but to date not cloning, are anything to go by, there will be more horses than ever.

What are we going to do with all of them? Slaughter always seems to be the method of choice for breeders and owners.

As a leading Kentucky Thoroughbred breeder stated to me in a recent telephone conversation concerning our stand against horse slaughter:

“You people [meaning advocates] don’t live in the real world. It is ridiculous when a horse’s meat is eaten by somebody, somewhere, we don’t take advantage of that fact and utilize this [horse slaughter] as a reasonable means of disposing of unwanted horses. It helps the horse industry and helps feed people. It may not be a great way to get rid of a horse, but it is over with fast enough. I just don’t see what’s wrong with it.”

What about the drugs horses are given that are potentially toxic to humans I asked. His response:

“So what? We’re not eating it. Anyway, you don’t think there’s not a lot of poisonous crap in the food we eat here?”

So there you have it. That is the type of thinking we are dealing with.

3 thoughts on “Cloning horses creates mixed emotions for Thoroughbred industry and advocates”

  1. This is not going to solve the over-breeding problem at all. The average person cannot afford this service and so the backyard breeding will continue. As always, the bottom line seems to be what’s in it for the humans, and who gives a damn about the horses. When that’s the bottom line, I have to take issue with it.

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    1. I agree wholeheartedly Karen. We have been listening to breeders defend themselves for nearly 10 years, and it all rings hollow to our ears.

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  2. I know two people who have cloned horses. Both are healthy, strong and NOT duplicates of their originals who were geldings either in personality or markings. One is jumping already, one is about to be ridden for the first time next month. It will be interesting to see how they progress and if their lifespans are shorter.

    In terms of race horses, cloning could mean that a stallion like Cigar (who was infertile) could be used to try to reproduce his athletic lines. He is happily retired at the Kentucky Horse Park but has no offspring.

    Stallions who pass along the ability to run fast and stay sound are worth millions in stud fees. Theoretically, if it could be shown this ability to pass along this ability by the clone is identical to the ability passed along by the original, then one could charge a lower stud fee due to double the number of available matings. In theory, it could also mean a smaller and smaller gene pool reproducing….

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