Cathal Murphy and Maeve Henchion
Ashtown Food Research Centre, Dublin
Mary McCarthy
University College, Cork
Gwilym A. Williams
Dublin Institute of Technology

European stakeholders will soon face a decision regarding the acceptability of livestock cloning. Commercial exploitation of cloning for food purposes within the European Union will require an insight into public sentiment, and a communication strategy that addresses risk perception. The present study canvassed the opinions of expert stakeholders within the Irish arena. Respondents surveyed did not identify animal cloning as an impending food priority issue, and there was little evidence of indepth awareness regarding the advanced developmental stage of this technology. Specific probing around this topic revealed varying receptivity to the idea of cloning for food purposes. Interestingly, with certain exceptions, a primarily utilitarian ethical perspective (based on perceived risk-benefit), rather than outright rejection on principle, appeared to inform interviewee opinion on aspects such as animal welfare and consumer choice. However, the near-term prospects for adoption of cloning for food were largely viewed with skepticism.

Key words: Animal cloning for food, expert Irish stakeholder awareness, ethical perspectives, market prospects.