Expatica news

Spanish plans to clone fighting bulls meet with scepticism

25 February 2008

MADRID – Plans by Spanish bull breeders to clone their best studs for producing fighting bulls are meeting with scepticism, the daily El Pais reported Monday.

"Cloning does not improve the race," genetics and bullfighting expert Javier Canon was quoted as saying.

Bull breeder Victoriano del Rio has made a deal with a US company to clone the 16-year-old stud bull Alcalde, which has fathered many of Spain’s best fighting bulls.

The Texas-based company in question has previously cloned stud horses and bulls and is even cloning a Mexican fighting bull, but animals have not been cloned in Spain so far, according to the daily.

A US expert will shortly come to Spain to take DNA samples from Alcalde, which weights 450 kg and lives on del Rio’s ranch near Madrid.

Embryos carrying the bull’s DNA will later be imported to Spain and implanted into cows, which will give birth to several clones in 2009, if all goes as planned.

The best clone will kept as a stud, while the others will die in the bull ring.

"The price of more than EUR 30,000 will be worth it," del Rio believes.

There were, however, no guarantees that the clones would be as brave and behave the same as Alcalde, he admitted.

Several Spanish breeders of fighting bulls are planning to clone their best studs, according to El Pais.

The cloning plans have upset bullfighting enthusiasts, del Rio admitted. "Many people have called us to say we are finishing with the tradition. But it will pass," he said.

Experts, however, were doubtful. "It would be more worthwhile to invest in artificial insemination," Canon said.

[Copyright dpa 2008]