A rancher in Spain plans to have his most prized bull cloned by a US firm in what will be a first in the history of Spanish bullfighting, El Pais reported Friday.
Victoriano del Rio will have 16-year-old Alcalde, the father of some of the biggest and fiercest bulls killed in Spanish bullrings in recent years, cloned by Viagen in the next few weeks, the daily said.
"Alcalde is unique, he's priceless and we wouldn't sell him for all the gold in the world," Victoriano's son Ricardo del Rio told the newspaper at the family's ranch at Guadalix de la Sierra, outside Madrid.
A clone of Alcalde is expected in March 2009.
Texas-based Viagen says it has successfully cloned at least 300 other animals, many of them prize bulls used in rodeos in the United States.
"We're preserving and multiplying animals that have shown themselves to be genetically superior and that justifies the investment," Viagen's director for Latin America and Spain, Jose Cordoba, told the newspaper.
Cloning a bull costs some 12,000 euros (17,500 dollars) compared to the 150,000 dollars it costs to clone a horse due to the greater complexity involved.
At least two other Spanish ranchers with prized studs are also considering cloning, as are two breeders of the purebred Portuguese horses used for mounted bullfights, he added.