Cloned horses may compete in the 2012 London Olympics, while anti-doping testing for humans becomes more sophisticated
By Simon Victor,
In a surprising but not shocking development, the Federation Equestre Internationale has decided to overturn a ban previously placed on cloned equines.
According to The Chronicle of the Horse at their recently held sports forum it was said, “The FEI will not forbid participation of clones or their progenies in FEI competitions. The FEI will continue to monitor further research, especially with regard to equine welfare.”
Whereas in 2007, the stance of the FEI was the polar opposite; “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 FEI opposes cloning for it goes against one of the FEI’s basic objectives: to enable FEI athletes ‘to compete in international events under fair and even conditions.”
This announcement comes in light of the London 2012 Olympics being touted as having “the most sophisticated anti-doping operation in the history of the Games.” According to CNN, for the first time in Olympics history, a private company will provide its facilities – $30 million state-of-the-art laboratory – to aide in the testing of samples from Olympic participants to detect illegal performance enhancements. This is being provided by pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK). According to GSK, the facilities will offer “enable expert analysts from King’s (College, London) to independently operate a World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) accredited laboratory during the Games.”
Although the FEI announcement has come too late for cloned horses to participate in the London 2012 Olympics, the implications will be far reaching, placing pressure on other equestrian governing bodies to relax the generally held stance of not allowing physiologically altering performance enhancement to be used by any participants.
This action has set a precedent for all sports, and the broader implications of such a development may mean that the rules pertaining to human performance enhancement may be contested, and become relaxed amid pressure from those who advocate its use.
Currently, the world’s biggest companies offering cloning are ViaTech in Texas and Cryozootech in Sonchamp, France.
They have both welcomed the news, and stated that their main aim is to allow the genes of top horses that have died or been gelded to be available again.
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About the author:
Simon Victor is a health health and fitness enthusiast who believes in being practical with healthy living.
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