WHITE STATION, NJ--(Marketwire - Aug 30, 2012) - NPR reports, in an article that is surprising to many people outside of the equestrian field, that cloned horses have been approved for competition in the upcoming Summer Olympic Games. The Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI), which previously banned cloned horses, has overturned its former decision and will now allow these horses to compete. Dr. Cesar Parra, founder of Piaffe-Performance, asserts that the ethical considerations associated with the cloning of horses may outweigh the benefits that such a practice holds for the equestrian community.
According to the article, horses have been cloned since 2003, when the first successful cloning initiative was complete. The practice has since grown, and the FEI asserts that over 110 cloned horses were created during 2010.
The article notes that the movement to overturn the original ban on cloned horses was led, in part, by Cryozootech and Via Gen, which provide their services to breeders. Breeders and trainers are targeted by such companies because they are constantly looking for horses that are easily trained and well-bred. The article reports: "The option of cloning horses is particularly attractive to breeder[s] and trainers, who sometimes castrate their animals to make them more trainable. But castration also takes away their long-term value as contributors to the gene pool -- and keeps breeders from capitalizing on their winnings."
Although cloning is seen by many as a solution to this dilemma, commonly faced by trainers and breeders, there are several reasons that people oppose the allowance of cloned animals in competitions. In 2007, when the FEI originally banned clones from equestrian events, it stated:
"The competitive equestrian couple of horse and rider are both acknowledged as athletes by the FEI. The cloning of either with a view to competing at international level would be unacceptable to the FEI." The organization believed that cloned horses would damage the "athletes' ability 'to compete in international events under fair and even conditions.'"
The debate over this issue is still strong, despite the FEI's recent decision to overturn the ban. Many equestrian enthusiasts, including Dr. Cesar Parra, are unsure about how this decision will affect the sport.
"The fact that we have the technology to clone horses is very exciting and a bit overwhelming," comments Dr. Cesar Parra. "And of course when one has a horse of a lifetime -- one that you absolutely love everything about -- the desire is very strong to have another one. The possibilities that this represents are definitely intriguing, but due to some ethical questions and concerns about this innovative technology I am still unsure as to where I stand on the subject."
Founder of Piaffe-Performance, Dr. Cesar Parra runs a full-service equestrian organization that is centered on classic German training methods. Through the classes offered by his program, Dr. Cesar Parra teaches his students integrity, sharing, strength of character, self-control, perseverance, and courtesy. Dr. Parra instructs his students regarding communication with their horses and encourages them to build trusting relationships with their mounts.