Genetics

Is Cloning our Pets a Slippery Slope to Human Cloning – Yes



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Replacing anything in society has become much too easy. There are new phones, new televisions, new significant others, even, that replace the old, obsolete or defunct. Sentimentality is usually not involved, but in the case of cloning pets, sentimentality is overdone and misguided. The silvery Pomeranian may look like darling little Maxim, but he really isn't Maxim. He is a genetic offshoot, like the starter philodendron that your neighbor gave you. He can be trained to love his owner, to sit and not nip at the grandchildren. He will not have Maxim's memories or idiosyncrasies.

Why then, clone a pet, when it is far less complicated to adopt another living, loving being? If pets become like favorite ottomans, replaced with the similar but snazzier type in the mall, how far behind are we with our sentient loved ones? It is not normal or healthy to want to replace the pre-school aged daughter who dies tragically in an accident. That DNA that was saved smacks of a human need that appears terribly askew; humans want things, they want their things because those things make humans whole and happy.

The medical advancements that have decreased disease and suffering are valuable tools. Yet it seems to have become a new cultural norm not to have to suffer the realities of life. How productive and well-rounded is a person whose entire existence and life savings is spent on creating another Maxim? Shades of Pet Sematary! The technology that enables cloning may well save our species from some catastrophic disease process. Why would the frivolity of cloning pets be permitted? Is this science truly benefiting the greater good?

Humanity truly has strayed too far from Nature. We have forgotten that death and dying is a normal part of organic life. Perhaps Transformers can be brought back on-line in the movies, and the Six Million Dollar Man will jump fences in television trivia forever, but all of us, including our living, breathing individual pets, die. In the normal course of life we grieve, we move on and remarry or adopt another quirky feline. Cloning living beings reflects a selfish and unhealthy need. Ethics committees may be clamoring to push back the tide of the sinister implications of science, but the market will cry louder for the technology, especially if the price is right. Humanity is very nearly defined by its devotion to the sanctity of life. Life will very cheap, indeed, if possession is just a clone away.

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