Thursday 3 April 2008

Cardinal Keith O'Brien has welcomed the results of an opinion poll released today which shows that over two thirds of the UK population oppose the creation of part-human part-animal embryos. The poll conducted by ORB (Opinion Research Business - on behalf of the Catholic Media Office asked how strongly people opposed or supported such research, 67% opposed (of which 51% opposed strongly) any moves to create hybrid embryos. The poll also questioned attitudes on IVF treatment being given to women without the child's genetic father being identified. 64% of respondents believed IVF clinics should be required to identify a child's genetic father.  

Both proposals are contained in the Government's "Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill". Commenting on the results, Cardinal O'Brien who has led UK opposition to the Bill said;

"I am delighted to see that the overwhelming majority of people, like me, are completely opposed to the creation of animal-human hybrids. I sincerely hope that Gordon Brown and all our MPs will take notice of this result and   reconsider the need for this legislation. It is also heartening to see that the vast majority of people across the UK firmly believe that when a woman receives IVF treatment the clinic involved should know that the child s genetic father is identified."

The Cardinal added; "Recently, Gordon Brown said about animal-human hybrid research, that "lives will be saved" and "treatments and cures will be available". Such statements are not only complete scientific fantasy but are blatantly untrue. They presents nothing more than a cruel deception to the thousands of families caring for an ill relative who may benefit from stem cell therapies. The Prime Minister obviously isn't aware of the recent statement by an expert molecular biologist (Dr. David King), who said; "there is abundant evidence that even if stem cells are obtained (from hybrid embryos) they will be so abnormal as to be useless"

Since Gordon Brown is intent on making hopelessly inaccurate statements on scientific matters he clearly doesn't understand I would urge him to consider meeting some of the scientists in this field and would be glad to facilitate just such a meeting."

Cardinal O'Brien concluded;

"It is time the Government focussed its attention on supporting and funding stem cell research which is both ethical and effective which is research using adult stem cells. Our Government deliberately ignore this proven research in favour of the morally bankrupt blind alley of embryo destruction.     As a result of such wilful ignorance on the part of government we risk losing an entire generation of our top scientific minds to other countries who see the potential in their work and support it where we fail."

Peter Kearney  
Catholic Media Office  
5 St. Vincent Place  
G1 2DH  
0141 221 1168
07968 122291

Note to Editors:

1. An MP3 audio file of Cardinal O'Brien commenting on the poll findings is available at:
2. The breakdown of results is shown below

ORB (Opinion Research Business)

RESULTS FROM ORB POLL - 1,000 CATI Interviews “
- Sample is nationally representative of the British population -
Fieldwork : March 27-29th 2008

Q 1                     Do you support or oppose allowing scientists to create embryos
           which are part-human part-animal?   How strongly is that?
                           (Rotate -50% from support to oppose, 50% from oppose to support.
           Read Out and Code One Only)

                      13%                       Strongly support
                      15%                       Somewhat support
                      16%                       Somewhat oppose
                      51%                       Strongly oppose

Q 2   At present if a women undergoes IVF treatment the clinic involved must
     ask for the name of the genetic father of the child.   Do you support or
     oppose this requirement?
       (Rotate -50% from support to oppose, 50% from oppose to support.   Read Out
     and Code One Only)

                      35%            Strongly support
                      29%                       Somewhat support
                      13%                       Somewhat oppose
                      17%                       Strongly oppose

Summary - 67% against hybrids,   64% for fathers involved in IVF

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