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To Clone or not to Clone: A Look at Why Cloning Fluffy and Fido Might not be in the Best Interests of Society and May Inevitably Pave the Way for Human Cloning

By Penelope Tsernoglou

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Abstract

Dolly was the first. Others soon followed: goats, pigs, and mice to name a few. Recently the world has witnessed the first birth of a cloned companion animal, CC the cat. This is a huge step in making cloning more acceptable within American society because humans relate far more to their pets than they do to any of the other animals cloned to date. So what happens when the cat or dog who you have become so attached to is suddenly taken away from you? And it will be. Pets will almost always die before their owners due to their relatively short life-spans compared to humans. Genetic Savings and Clone has the answer! Or at least they want you to think they have the answer. For $895+ shipping you can store your pets DNA to be cloned at some unknown point in the future. Other facilities also offer these services. The research to clone pets all started with a mixed breed dog named Missy who was lucky enough to be adopted from an animal shelter by a wealthy couple. When Missy began to age, her owners realized that they couldn’t let go and financed the Missyplicity project. After several years of research, Texas A&M produced a cuddly little kitten named CC. Dogs will prove harder to clone because our knowledge of their physiology is extremely limited. The birth of CC is significant for many different reasons. The cloning market will soon open up for companies like GSC to exploit pet owner’s emotional attachments to their faithful companions. American children may soon be spared from the inevitable lesson that everything dies. And eventually, the cloning of companion animals will soften the hearts of the public and the media and make way for human cloning. Today it is CC, tomorrow it may be a human child. 
While laws are currently in place restricting human cloning and laws completely prohibiting research on human cloning are on the table, once passed these laws will soon give way to public demand. One important factor remains- a clone is not a resurrection. The human fixation on immortality has taken on many different forms which manifest themselves in our modern world in the form of scientific advances. Dr. Frankenstein may be a thing of the past, but there’s a new doctor in town. This doctor doesn’t promise to resurrect your dead corpse, but instead, he offers something better, an entirely new life! Researchers deny making such promises, but when people face death, even the smallest hope of rebirth may be enough for them to lay down their life savings. Unfortunately, the reality is that most clones at best strive to be an identical twin, and at worst, fail to be born at all. Out of 87 embryos, only one CC was born. Furthermore, the health implications to clones are staggering. Considering the fact that a clone is no more like its genetic donor than a dog of the same breed and the numerous complications and unanswered questions involved with cloning we have to ask ourselves: is GSC really interested in soothing the broken hearts of lost pet owners? I think not. Nevertheless, scientists will not cease to move in the direction of accomplishing everything that is possible in the never-ending quest of testing the outer limits of discovery and human accomplishment. With something as controversial and exciting as cloning, there will always be funding, whether it is government, private or otherwise. Eugenics catastrophes of the past seem far away and remote when we envision the new prospects of advancement offered by cloning. Reproductive cloning began with farm animals, we’re successfully working on companion animals and the possibility of a human clone looms on the horizon. Like in-vitro fertilization and euthanasia in the past,  first come the animals and after years of research and perfection of the processes, the application to human beings is virtually inevitable. U.S. Laws that restrict and ban human cloning are weak and limited in scope. They will soon crumble to public demand and commercial powerhouses like GSC. Moreover, without international regulations, nations who refuse to ban or restrict cloning will leave the United States behind and move on to explore this new frontier of scientific accomplishment with or without our blessings. 

Submitter

Katie Carroll

Date 2004
Publication Title Student Scholarship
Publisher Michigan State University College of Law
URL http://digitalcommons.law.msu.edu/king/56/
Language English
Additional Language English
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Tags
  1. Animal roles
  2. Animal welfare
  3. Clones
  4. Genetic engineering
  5. Law and legal issues
  6. Legal status
  7. Pet ownership
  8. Pets and companion animals