An efficient animal cloning technology would provide many new opportunities for livestock agriculture, human medicine, and animal conservation. Nuclear cloning involves the production of animals that are genetically identical to the donor cells used in a technique known as nuclear transfer (NT). However, at present it is an inefficient process: in cattle, only around 6% of the embryos transferred to the reproductive tracts of recipient cows result in healthy, long-term surviving clones. Of concern are the high losses throughout gestation, during birth and in the post-natal period through to adulthood. Many of the pregnancy losses relate to failure of the placenta to develop and function correctly. Placental dysfunction may also have an adverse influence on post-natal health. These anomalies are probably due to incorrect epigenetic reprogramming of the donor genome following NT, leading to inappropriate patterns of gene expression during the development of clones. Whilst some physiological tests on surviving clones suggest normality, other reports indicate a variety of post-natal clone-associated abnormalities. This variability in outcome may reflect species-specific and/or cloning methodological differences. Importantly, to date it appears that these clone-associated phenotypes are not transmitted to offspring following sexual reproduction. This indicates that they represent epigenetic errors, rather than genetic errors, which are corrected during gametogenesis. Whilst this needs confirmation at the molecular level, it provides initial confidence in the first application of NT in agriculture, namely, the production of small numbers of cloned sires from genetically elite bulls, for natural mating, to effectively disseminate genetic gain. In addition to the animal welfare concerns with the technology, the underlying health of the animals and the consequential effect on food safety are critical aspects that require investigation to gain regulatory and consumer acceptance. Future improvements in animal cloning will largely arise from a greater understanding of the molecular mechanisms of reprogramming.