The ethical questions surrounding human cloning are many and complex. Some people come at the issue from a religious perspective because the state of the art for embryonic cloning still destroys the embryo. Others worry about the science being used for nefarious purposes. The fear is that despots and dictatorial regimes might raise armies of slaves. Still others postulate that human cloning raises legal issues about the civil rights and self-sovereignty of the clone. It is truly a complex and convoluted subject bereft of easy answers.
I do not believe per sea that animal cloning is or will be the catalyst that eventually leads to human cloning. The cloning of a human will result from our ability to do it. It is inevitable that once we learn to do something we will pursue perfection.
Anything we can almost do we want to do better. If we can do something adequately, we want to do it superbly. Not satisfied with crawling we progress to walking and then running. Soon we are peddling bikes and racing motorcycles. You get the picture, once the cat is out of the bag it is too late to keep it from prowling around.
The cloning of a human will happen, despite any widely held religious or ethical objections. Like the climbing of Mount Everest, it will happen just because it is possible to do it. The cloning of animals is just a step along the journey. Animal cloning is not causal or causative. The cause is the inquiring nature of the human species. Our nature is to be inquisitive and ask the most basic of questions, what if.
What if diseased organs could be replaced with genetically identical organs free of disease? What if deceased loved ones could be reborn in the lab? What if the various inimical and insidious diseases we are afflicted with could be eradicated? What if the process of cloning could indefinitely extend the longevity of the human race? These questions drive the pursuit of this knowledge. Animal cloning is just a byproduct of these questions and this pursuit.
The cloning of animals is still controversial, let alone the cloning of human beings. Though many people are concerned about the safety of food products from cloned animals the FDA has ruled that no special labeling is required. Even though cloned animals usually live truncated lives and there is no long-term experience yet on the effects of their being in the food supply, the government is OK with that.
It come down to, if it can be done it will be done. Someone somewhere will clone a human being for good or for ill. Problematic as it may be for a whole host of reasons someone will rationalize and justify it because they can achieve it.
Rest assured though it will not happen because animals were cloned first. Rather animals were cloned first because that was a necessary piece of the cloning puzzle. Crawling is not a slippery slope leading to walking, nor walking one leading to running. We crawl first so we may eventually walk and then run. Crawling is no more a cause of running then the cloning of animals is a cause of human cloning. They are both just necessary preliminary parts of the process of discovery.