In July, the U.S. Department of Agriculture rejected a petition by the American Anti-Vivisection Society asking the agency to regulate pet cloning companies as research facilities under the Animal Welfare Act.
In a letter to the AAVS, the USDA’s Chester Gipson wrote that,
GSC [Genetic Savings & Clone] is providing a production service, using in vitro technology combined with standard veterinary medical practice. Furthermore, we have determined that GSC is not a dog or cat dealer under the AWA, because the retail sales of dogs and cats are specifically exempted from the AWA.
Genetic Savings & Clone CEO Lou Hawthorne said that his company had also requested that pet cloning firms be regulated by the USDA — preferring one federal regulating body instead of having to deal with a patchwork of state regulations — but received the same response as the AAVS. Hawthorne told The Scientist,
However, the USDA/APHIS responded to our request in the same way that they responded to the AAVS petition: GSC does not require AWA oversight, because we outsource our animal care and only work with embryos at our facility. If/when we change our production model and maintain animals at our main facility — something we’re seriously considering — then we’ll again petition the USDA/APHIS to oversee our work under the terms of the AWA.
The USDA did say that in order to show its animals at animal shows, Genetic Savings & Clone would have to obtain an animal exhibitor’s license. Hawthorne told The Scientist that the company is in the process of finishing the license application and expects to receive approval from the USDA.
USDA: no pet cloning regulation. Ivan Oranksy, The Scientist, July 19, 2005.