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Cloning doesn't run a place in Australia

Australasian racing ministers voted unanimously to ban cloned horses from racing in their jurisdictions  

CANBERRA, Australia -- Dolly the racehorse is unlikely to ever win a Melbourne Cup.

Australia and New Zealand banned from competition all horses and greyhounds cloned from technology similar to that which gave the world Dolly, the first cloned sheep.

Industry leaders who announced the ban Friday believe it will be copied internationally, Reuters news agency reported.

Australasian racing ministers, meeting in Melbourne, voted unanimously to ban cloned horses from racing in their jurisdictions after the thoroughbred and harness racing industries protested to plans to clone former Australian harness racing champion Gammalite.

Australian company Clone International, which already clones cattle, had announced plans to use the same technology employed to produce the first cloned sheep, Dolly, to replicate the champion racer.

"I do think by introducing cloning it does have the potential to get rid of the beauty of racing which is its uncertainty," Hulls told reporters.

Harness Racing Victoria chief executive Rob Pollock endorsed the decision, saying the emphasis on biotechnology ran against the traditions of the sport.

"We don't want our races determined in laboratories," he told reporters.

Andrew Harding from the Australian Racing Board told Australian Associated Press the industry was leading the world in ruling out cloned racehorses, and he was convinced other nations would follow Australia and New Zealand's lead.

"It's recently been discussed at an international level and the position we've taken here is one that will be universally taken," Harding said.

But Clone International spokesman Stephen Fry said it was premature to ban a technology before it was properly understood as cloning horses could help eradicate the highly contagious equine respiratory diseases.

"I see the application to be for breeding purposes, not for racing purposes," Fry told reporters.


• Australian Racing Board

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