Timmy is eleven years old and has come home from school to find his best friend Charles, a Labrador, dead from a heart defect. He is distraught and crying. Charles was his best friend and grew up with Timmy. His mother squats down next to her son as he cries. She puts a motherly arm around him and says, It's okay, honey, Charles can be brought back good as new.
Timmy is emotionally distraught, I don't want another dog, I want Charles! His mom holds him closer and says, Yes honey, we can do that. We can bring Charles back to life. Would you like that? Timmy now looks at his mother a hope coming into his dark brown eyes.
Really? Yes, oh yes mommy. Please! She smiles knowing that the loss of Charles has hit her son but that with new technology she can give him back his very best friend. They scoop Charles up and place him in the car. Together they drive to the local cloning hospital.
Wow! This will be great! Timmy exclaims. I didn't know that you could bring animals back to life. Can we bring back Grandpa too? Timmy asks hopefully. His mother looks over at her son, the classic June Cleaver smile.
We'll see, honey. Daddy is petitioning congress now to change the law. Then we can have our whole family back. Wouldn't that be great? she says. Timmy agrees and they take Charles into the cloning hospital to await the next available doctor.
If you read this thinking that it couldn't possibly happen. I would agree with you, to a point. Seriously though, it does happen and has happened. A couple in Florida had their dog cloned after he died. They paid $155,000 dollars for a Korean clinic to clone their dead dog. The couple was quoted as saying, "He was a human dog. We couldn't be without him."
Pets become like family for most of us, I am not without exception. My dog, Poet, was my best friend. I even called him my son. He lived with me for eleven years. As a chi hua hua he was larger than most other dogs of the same breed. Anyone who knew Poet would tell you he was a special dog. Almost human in his mannerisms and actions. In February of this year I had him put down for an extreme case of diabetes. His last week he became incontinent and wouldn't eat anything. I had no idea he had diabetes or that I had caused it in how I fed him. It was an emotional time for myself and my family. My partner was unable to accept the idea of letting him go. She paid for the blood work tests that led us to understanding why he was sick.
When the vet's office called to tell us that it was diabetes and that only hospitalization would help I was at a loss for words. I work for a living, barely making ends meet. A thousand dollars a day was what was required to put Poet in the hospital. It was that or let him go. My partner's son couldn't even be in the room when the vet examined him. He left and I didn't see him for two days. My partner disappeared while I waited for the call for Poet's diagnosis. It was her father and I that took Poet down to the vet. I had decided that ending his life was the most humane thing I could do.
After Poet took his last breath, I let out a cry that came from the depths of my heart. I had lost my best friend, my son and the only being that had loved me unconditionally. My partner's dad held me while I cried. If cloning was an option I still know in my heart that a clone of Poet wouldn't have been the dog I knew. We had a history, I had grown up with him.
It was the life that Poet lived that would be forever in my memory. It was the way he was with people, children, and my family that I would remember most. I would remember it because Poet had taught me so much about love and life. His last moments we spent outside, sitting on a bench near the office of the vet. Poet sat in his blanket and I sat next to him smoking my third cigarette. A woman was distraught over her pit bull. He had been in lock down due to a bite and she was agonizing over the possibility they would put him down.
She kept staring at Poet. Eventually she just walked up to him and began to pet him. Poet had a way of letting people open up to him. She told him all about her dog and the trouble she was having. Poet licked her hand and placed his little head in her palm. I cried silently sitting next to them.
My son was a great teacher. He taught me about love. The unconditional kind. In his last moments he continued to give the same comfort and support I had known him for the last twelve years. He was in a lot of pain then but still found the capacity to give.
I do know that a clone of Poet would only be in his looks and not in his soul. How then can we conceive of the idea to clone pets? Where does that lead us, as a society? Then how do we justify not bringing back the mom, dad, or even the child that was lost prematurely? How do we, humans, define the life cycle of another when it is apparent that we have very little control over the world we live in?
Science has provided many miracles over the last one hundred years. Some that have saved the human population from extinction. Diseases are made into cures, drugs have given us the ability to heal at an astounding rate. The drawback to these scientific discoveries is we haven't given our society the time to grow spiritually. Little Timmy never understands the precious gift of life, the joy in finding the good in a moment because instantly he suffers no loss of his best friend. Instead we allow science to bring back the illusion of the real dog.
Having a pet teaches many things to their owners. Particularly, children, who learn about responsibility, love, and the ultimate end; death. Take those valuable lessons away and you have a child that learns nothing ends. Science just re-creates it and thus life goes on until we live in a sea of same people, same animals and there are no souls left in the world.
Drastic, even a bit over dramatized? Perhaps, but lets look at the process of life. It comes from a natural act of consummation. Which is performed when hormones are in an alignment. Animal's mate when they are in heat. Start making animals in a Petri dish, there is no heat. There is no consummation of love for making another one of you. Whether it be animal or human. How does this new life still have a soul? Maybe it does, I don't have the corner on a spiritual market.
However, thinking in terms of food production, cloning sounds like a great solution to the growing demand of food in the world. It would provide more animal's at a faster rate than growing them naturally. And it provides a livelihood for those farmer's in the business of producing beef, pork, and chicken. So from this respect, one can see how cloning would be beneficial.
What if you didn't have the whole story? Furthermore what if very specific parallels weren't drawn for us (the population that eats animals)?
Cloning enhances the availability of the best possible stock by allowing farmers to be certain of the genetic make-up of a particular animal, thus allowing them to produce high-quality, safe, and healthy food
Cloning can offer a tremendous advantage for farmers whose livelihoods depend on selling high-quality meat and dairy products. The breeding technique allows a greater number of farmers the ability to preserve and extend proven, superior genetics. Through cloning, ranchers will be able to select and propagate the best animals for example, beef cattle that have lean but tender meat. Through cloning, ranchers will be able to breed animals that are more resistant to diseases, thereby improving the health of the herd and reduce the need for medical intervention.
Information taken from :
Now, that appears to be a grand argument for the purpose of cloning animals. The process by which cloning is done is technical. DNA sample's are taken from a live animal and duplicated through a bioengineered process. Chemically enhanced and hormone induced to produce an animal for the purposes of feeding the world.
What does that mean? I am eating an animal that was chemically engineered? So, all of the chemicals and other hormones used to promote the rapid growth of this animal then is put into my body? Wait a minute, what's that old adage?
I am what I eat.
In January 2008, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration published a final risk assessment on meat and milk products from animal clones and their offspring which concluded that these products are as safe as conventionally produced food products.
Currently, there are no meat and milk products from cloned animals and their offspring in the marketplace. With FDA's safety conclusion now in place, cloned animals produced to date are unlikely to enter the food supply for another three to five years.
Well that is reassuring, I think.