As of right now, cloned horses are not allowed to compete in either Thoroughbred or Quarter horse races. However, Arabian horse races allow cloned horses to participate – and the International Federation for Equestrian Sports also permits cloned horses. But should they be allowed to race?
Many believe that cloned horses have an advantage – so allowing them to race could have a big impact on the sport, its fans and even those searching for the best place to bet on horse racing in the UK. But, because this is a relatively new addition to the sport, there are still many misconceptions about how they actually measure up to their naturally-bred competitors.
Is It Fair?
Because cloning is very expensive, breeders would only choose to clone a horse that has both a successful racing record as well as a superior pedigree. Naturally, we can assume you would only spend such sums of money if you wanted to attain the fastest and best bred animals.
As such, people will naturally assume that a cloned horse must have a competitive advantage – one that a naturally bred horse cannot match. However, up until now there is no evidence to suggest that this is true and that they are any better than a naturally bred horse.
The reason for this is simple. Although they share their DNA with a famous and successful horse, they will still lack the training and favourable environment that also determines how successful the racehorse will be.
It has been witnessed that a cloned horse behaves in the same way as any other horse and has exactly the same capabilities. They all need the best diet and nourishment to develop as well as continual exercise to build strength and stamina.
Even more importantly, training them to be competitive races takes exactly the same time and effort as with any natural-bred horse. The only possible advantage a cloned horse might have isn’t actually related to how well they perform.
Owners of a cloned horse can usually feel optimistic about the attributes they will have as an adult. However, anyone investing in a naturally-bred horse won’t know for certain what its defining features will be – such as weight, height, muscle-mass or medical immunity.
Is It Ethical?
Aside from being fair, is it actually ethical? Well, as we have seen, there aren’t serious major concerns over how they will compete. However, there is a moral question around how ethical it is to actually clone an animal, and whether the idea of artificial breeding is actually something that should be avoided.
One major concern that some people may have with cloning horses is that the offspring created in this way are actually more susceptible to fatal diseases and abnormalities. There are those who even suggest that a cloned horse doesn’t have the same lifespan as a naturally-bred horse. As such, morally it is bad practice. However, at this moment in time, there is very little data to support these claims.
The lack of information on this is, in part, because of how rare horse cloning is at the moment – and how few studies into it have actually been conducted. However, the data that has been gathered actually suggests that cloned horses are born just as healthy and long-living as their naturally-bred counterparts.
How Many Cloned Horses Are There Right Now?
Because of the stigma surrounding cloned horses, the amount of horses is unknown – as many would choose to keep this information quiet, especially if they are competing in competitive horse races. This is hardly surprising given the fact that every jockey dreams of riding a famous top-level horse to victory, not just riding a genetic copy of a previously famous horse. However, it’s fair to say that since the very first cloned horse was unveiled back in 203, there have been a few hundred horses that have also been cloned.
But, until it is more widely accepted in the horse racing world, how many will choose to do so is a mystery. This is a hugely complicated moral and ethical concept – and one that will keep people talking. The answer as to whether it is fair seems to be yes – but is it ethical? That’s the question…