Pro-life campaigners have condemned plans by the creator of the world's first cloned mammal, Dolly the sheep, to clone human embryos for the purposes of research. Professor Ian Wilmut, working at the Roslin Institute in Scotland, has applied to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) to be permitted to create human embryos through cloning. He then plans to experiment upon these embryos in the hope of gaining insights into motor neurone disease. A spokesman for LIFE, Patrick Cusworth said: "It comes as no great surprise to us that Professor Wilmut has decided to expand his practice of the cloning of animals to the cloning of human beings. Although he has claimed he is personally opposed to 'reproductive' cloning, it is important to highlight that there is no difference in the technique used to clone human embryos for research such as that which he has now proposed, and cloning human beings to birth. The only difference is in the intended fate of the embryos created. "This form of destructive experimentation performed on human embryos is a further example of the trivialisation of early human life, by treating it solely as a means to an end. To create a tiny new individual human being solely for the purposes of his or her own destruction is not something which we, living in a society which refers to itself as civilised, can countenance. "It is important to point out that not only is such research destructive and unethical, but it is also contrary to principles vital in the law governing medical research. Scientists must not be allowed to experiment upon any human being if that research is not going to benefit the human subject being experimented upon. "The irony of the debate, however, is there is a genuinely viable and already successful alternative to destructive embryo experimentation. Experiments using adult stem cells, which can be found in umbilical cords, bone marrow, and other parts of the human body, have already led to insights into motor neurone disease, and various other debilitating diseases and conditions such as MS, Parkinson's and Alzheimer's. "The experiments carried out by Professor Wilmut will surely lead to the increased production of such tiny human beings, solely for the purposes of destructive experimentation, carried out under the pseudonym of science. LIFE calls on both the UK government and the HFEA to prove to the British public their much-publicised commitment to ethical standards in science and research, by banning all practices which involve the creation, manipulation and destruction of human life. Science must always exist to benefit humanity - not the other way round." Source: LIFE
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