Cloning, by definition is to create a replica of something from the genetic material of that something. That the object is a living entity, individual of any other seems to be more of a challenge than an ethical consideration to those caught up in fascinating experimentation. Inundated by torrents of identical matter spewing daily from the mouths of copy machines perhaps we have all become gradually numbed to the idea of individuality in anything, opening the door to such an emotional issue.
Cloning IS an emotional issue because living things touch the heartstrings in all of us. Pets are extensions of family. They hold places in human hearts equal to and sometimes greater than that of children, siblings and spouses. They are our companions, comforters and friends. We bond with them and often mourn deeply for them when they die. Who does not want their beloved companion back again?
But a copy of a friend, however perfect is not the same friend. As rational beings we know something is different even though its representation may be exactly the same and so our experience with that being will always be technically different. Cloning of a pet may give an artificial sense of continuation which allows someone to live in a fantasy of endless companionship. If a beloved pet may continue indefinitely through cloning, how much greater is the desire to continue the lives of spouses, children and siblings through the same engineering?
We are social creatures of sensitivity. We form relationships and suffer when those relationships part ways. We seek continuation of comfortable and satisfying situations. It is in our emotional makeup to want close relationships to remain with us forever. Often through bereavement people seek to replace what has been lost in any way they can. The cloning of pets could give an artificial sense of that kind of desired continuation, numbing us to the reality and necessity of loss. If one experiences even the fantasy of having a beloved pet forever, how much greater is the desire to extend the fantasy to beloved human companions?
The ease of immersion into cyberspace, techno gaming and movie – land has proven the willingness of the human animal to find alternate realities in which to spend great chunks of life. The fantasy of never losing a beloved pet….and then a family member is not as unreal a scenario as might be rationally supposed. Despite the fact that cloned animals…or people are NOT the same being as the individual original, the human mind is more than capable of the necessary rationalization to pretend it so. The cloning of pets would definitely speed forward the reality of human cloning.