Cloning a pet is another step on the slippery slope to cloning humans. Although cloning is used sparingly in the agricultural world, that keeps it at an arms distance. Once you start talking about a household pet, the situation becomes a little more confusing.
People don’t mind if you happen to clone the DNA of a plant so that you get more corn per acre. Plants don’t even seem alive for most people. Livestock on the farm causes a little bit more of a stir. Actually cloning an entire animal (like Dolly the sheep) will catch the headlines for a couple of days.
People start claiming that scientists are playing God and everything else. The fact that genetic manipulation has been going on for close to 10,000 years with cross breeding different kinds of plants and animals seems to be a forgotten point. It also doesn’t seem to matter that many times a particular gene may be changed to achieve a goal. If it makes a chicken have a larger breast, people are all for it. It makes it cheaper to buy boneless, skinless chicken breast at the grocery store.
Deciding to clone a family pet is an entirely different story. It is not the same as going to the local animal shelter and getting a different dog. You are using the DNA from your pet to create a “new” version of the pet that you had. While it is an ongoing argument. The new pet will look like the old one, may have the same characteristics but will grow up in a different environment. Let’s say you had kids around with the first dog. As it aged, the children became teenagers and young adults. With the new “cloned” dog, it will grow up in a house that only has you and your spouse. This will result in a different dog. It’s DNA will be the same, but it’s personality will be different.
How does this take us one step closer to cloning a human? When it is something that we use as food, we think of it that way. People don’t associate the steak they are eating with a living, breathing cow. Even if they do, it is a cow. Steaks are what they are for. Family pets are a different story. They have a name. People talk to them. They have their own personalities, even to the point that they are considered part of the family. This is even more true if the pet was loved enough that you want it cloned, not replaced.
If you are an optimist about the entire cloning question, it makes this step even closer to human cloning. At least if pet cloning went horribly wrong, it would deter people from going from animals to people. If there are no serious side effects, it won’t be long until humans are cloned.
Everyone has lost someone that they loved at some point in there life. If the ability was there to bring them back, most people would line up to have it done. The science has not progressed enough for us to know what the short term effects let along what the long term effects would be. When a person or animal is cloned, it doesn’t just appear miraculously the way that you remember it. It will be born and grow up. This new version of the old person (as stated earlier) will mature in an entirely different environment, hence it will not be the exact same person.
We don’t know enough about the science involving cloning. Cloning humans may a good idea, but it may also be a very, very bad idea. Time will tell because eventually it will happen. Cloning a pet that was loved is just one step closer to that slippery slope that leads to the cloning of humans. If you take the first step and clone a loved pet, the next step, which might be a half step, is to clone a loved one that has died.