Animal and Pet Cloning Opinion Polls
Americans very consistently oppose animal cloning in general. They specifically disapprove of pet cloning, and the use of cloning to reestablish endangered, or revive extinct, species.
The cloning and possible genetic modification of animals has been polled regularly since the announcement of the first cloned sheep in 1997. Almost immediately, applications and extensions of the technique were discussed, notably to standardize livestock, rescue endangered species and even to revive extinct species. It is notable that over more than 20 years, these proposed applications have never achieved general public acceptance.
Lou Hawthorne, an eccentric entrepreneur financed by John Sperling, tried to establish a pet cloning industry in the early 2000s, but abandoned the attempt when he (finally) realized that it was impossible without “a huge amount of suffering.” Nevertheless, the disgraced Korean stem-cell scientist Hwang Woo-Suk continues to sell cloned dogs for high prices, and occasionally derives headlines by selling to celebrities, including Barbra Streisand. In 2018, a Chinese company also entered the dog cloning market. Hwang claims that he will revive mammoths by cloning; others, including Harvard’s George Church, aim to do the same by genetically editing an elephant.
Animals are routinely used in laboratories, and increasingly genetically modified for research purposes and perhaps for xenotransplantation. There is little if any polling on these topics, though medical applications of technology are generally less unpopular than recreational ones.
Verbatim text of the questions, and complete survey reports, can generally be found by clicking on the links in the ‘Poll’ column; missing data is indicated by a dash. A few notes on phrasing and the very limited demographic data available follow the table.
|Gallup||May 2018||Animal cloning||40||51||3|
|Pew||Apr/May 2018||Animals in research||47||52||2|
|Pew||Apr/May 2018||Genetic engineering for better meat||43||55||2|
|Pew||Apr/May 2018||Genetic engineering for de-extinction||32||67||1|
|Pew||Apr/May 2018||Genetic engineering of mosquitoes||70||29||1|
|Pew||Apr/May 2018||Genetic engineering for transplants||57||41||2|
|Pew||Apr–May 2018||Genetic engineering for glowing fish||21||77||1|
|Gallup||May 2017||Animal cloning||32||63||4|
|Gallup||May 2016||Animal cloning||34||60||7|
|Gallup||May 2015||Animal cloning||34||60||6|
|Pew||Aug 2014||Animals in research||47||50||3|
|Gallup||May 2014||Animal cloning||34||60||5|
|YouGov||Jan 2014||Mammoth/other extinct||27||55||18|
|YouGov||Aug 2013||Woolly mammoth||28||40||33|
|Gallup||May 2013||Animal cloning||34||60||6|
|YouGov||Jan 2013||Woolly mammoth||31||46||23|
|Angus Reid (Canada)||Jan 2013||Animal cloning||26||–||–|
|Angus Reid (US)||Jan 2013||Animal cloning||23||–||–|
|Angus Reid (UK)||Jan 2013||Animal cloning||20||–||–|
|Gallup||May 2012||Animal cloning||34||60||6|
|Gallup||May 2011||Animal cloning||32||62||6|
|Gallup||May 2010||Animal cloning||31||63||6|
|Gallup||May 2009||Animal cloning||34||63||3|
|Pew||Apr/May 2009||Animals in research||52||43||6|
|Gallup||May 2008||Animal cloning||33||61||6|
|Gallup||May 2007||Animal cloning||36||59||5|
|Gallup||May 2006||Animal cloning||29||65||6|
|Gallup||May 2005||Animal cloning||35||61||4|
|Gallup (Canada)||2004||Animal cloning||30||–||–|
|Gallup (UK)||2004||Animal cloning||26||–||–|
|Gallup||May 2004||Animal cloning||32||67||4|
|ORC||Feb 2004||Pet cloning||13||80||7|
|ORC||Feb 2004||Genetically Modified
|Gallup (teens)||Aug 2003||Animal cloning||32||67||1|
|Gallup||May 2003||Animal cloning||29||68||3|
|GPPC||Oct 2002||Animal cloning||37||55||8|
|Gallup||May 2002||Animal cloning||29||66||5|
|Gallup||May 2002||Endangered species||38||58||4|
|Gallup||May 2002||Pet cloning||15||82||3|
|Fox News||Feb 2002||Endangered species||29||64||7|
|Fox News||Feb 2002||Extinct species||20||72||8|
|Fox News||Feb 2002||Livestock||23||71||6|
|Fox News||Apr 2001||Endangered species||32||61||7|
|Fox News||Apr 2001||Extinct species||23||69||8|
|Fox News||Apr 2001||Livestock||27||66||7|
|Fox||Feb 2002||Pet cloning||12||84||4|
|ABC||Aug 2001||Animal cloning legal?||37||59||4|
|Gallup||May 2001||Animal cloning moral?||31||63||4|
|Gallup||May 2001||Allow animal cloning?||32||64||4|
|Fox||Apr 2001||Pet cloning||16||79||5|
|Time/CNN||Feb 2001||Animal cloning||29||67||4|
|Fox News||Jan 1998||Endangered species||32||61||7|
|Fox News||Jan 1998||Extinct species||19||73||8|
|Fox News||Jan 1998||Livestock||28||65||7|
|Fox News||Mar 1997||Endangered species||31||60||9|
|Fox News||Mar 1997||Extinct species||19||70||11|
|Fox News||Mar 1997||Livestock||28||62||6|
|CNN/Time||Feb 1997||Animal cloning||28||66||6|
The 2002–2018 Gallup polls, and the 1997 CNN/Time poll, asked whether animal cloning was "morally acceptable" or "morally wrong," as did the 2013 Angus Reid survey of Canada, the US and the UK. The 2001 Time/CNN poll asked if it was "a good idea or a bad idea." The 2002 Genetics and Public Policy Center (GPPC) poll asked for approval/disapproval of "scientists working on ways to clone animals."
The January 2013 YouGov poll also asked about cloning Neanderthals, with or without a human surrogate, opposed 17–63 and 15–66, respectively. The January 2014 YouGov survey asked about "woolly mammoths and other extinct species" and distinguished between strong and "somewhat" approval and disapproval (8% strongly approved, 34% strongly disapproved).
The April/May 2018 Pew poll includes an assessment of the science knowledge of respondents (24% high, 49% medium, 26% low) based on answers to nine factual questions, applied as part of a demographic analysis: “Men, those with high science knowledge and those low in religiosity are more inclined to see these varied uses of animal biotechnology as appropriate.” The main reasons (respondents were asked to name one) for objecting to specific proposals varied, frequently including risk of unintended consequences, animal welfare, “messing with” nature or God's plan, and being a waste of time and resources.
Very little other demographic data is available, and none recent. According to the 2001 Gallup and ABC polls, people with postgraduate education and those earning above $75,000 were more inclined to favor animal cloning. Religious people tended to be more opposed than the non-religious. There was also a substantial gender gap, with women strongly opposed to animal cloning (25–71% in the ABC poll, 74% opposed in the Gallup), and men almost evenly split.
The February 2004 Opinion Research Corporation (ORC) poll summary was prepared for the American Anti-Vivisection Society, and contains fairly detailed demographic breakdowns (opposition varied from 73% to 88%). It was the first and perhaps only only available poll that specifically addresses the issue of genetically modified (as distinguished from cloned) pets, and shows that they even more unpopular, with 84% opposing and only 12% approving of them.