Barbra Streisand has angered officials at animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) by admitting she cloned her dog.

In an interview with Variety, the singer said her two dogs, Miss Violet and Miss Scarlett, were cloned from her beloved 14-year-old Coton du Tulear dog Samantha, who died last year – using cells taken from her pet's stomach and mouth.

However, PETA founder Ingrid Newkirk has criticised the singer and actress' decision, as cloning has a high failure rate and doing so leaves unwanted dogs languishing in kennels.

"We all want our beloved dogs to live forever, but while it may sound like a good idea, cloning doesn't achieve that, instead, it creates a new and different dog who has only the physical characteristics of the original," Ingrid told WENN in a statement.

She added, "When you consider that millions of wonderful adoptable dogs are languishing in animal shelters every year or dying in terrifying ways when abandoned, you realize that cloning adds to the homeless-animal population crisis, and because cloning has a high failure rate, many dogs are caged and tormented for every birth that actually occurs – so that's not fair to them, despite the best intentions."

Barbra was so smitten with Samantha that she took her on tour with her, and told the Associated Press when the pooch died that she felt as though she had "lost a child".

She has named her new cloned dogs after the colour of clothing she dresses them in, so that she can tell them apart.

The 75-year-old also has a third Coton du Tulear, a distant relative of Samantha's, named Miss Fanny. Her third hound's mother was called Funny Girl after the 1968 musical movie, in which she starred.

Ingrid expressed understanding for Barbra's grief over losing her beloved pet, but said she would "love to have talked her out of cloning".