Animal cloning is a selfish act by humans who miss their pets

By Lilly Zhang Source:Global Times Published: 2018/11/26 19:13:40

Illustration: Lu Ting/GT

If your pet was about to die, would you clone it? A Beijing-based biotech company is now rolling out pet dog cloning services. For 380,000 yuan ($54,717.99), you too can own a genetic twin of your favorite pet just by sending them a tissue sample. The company has already signed up 20 clients and has cloned 10 dogs, according to media reports.

As a cat owner myself, I can understand why there are people who want to clone their pets. Having a pet is both an emotionally rewarding yet somewhat sorrowful experience. On the one hand, your pet lives with you, accompanies you and forges a connection with you that almost make it a family member.

On the other hand, pets have a significantly shorter life span than humans, so no matter how much you love them, they will only be with you for a short period. When I play with my exotic shorthair Garlic, the thought that I will very likely see him die one day soon constantly jumps into my head.

What's worse is that all pets, being pets, are mostly neutered, meaning they don't have offspring to carry forward our memories of them as a human family would. So if a new technology can create an animal that is genetically the same as your pet, I can see why many people are interested.

Animal cloning does not seem to have as many ethical issues as the dreadful idea of cloning humans. You wouldn't have to worry that a cloned animal has no place in the society or would be regarded as a freak by other animals.

Until, that is, I learned how cloned pets are actually made, which involves taking eggs out of a female animal, replacing their nucleus with the genes of the animal being cloned, and then putting the embryo back into a surrogate pet which will give birth to the cloned twin.

Since there is a failure rate, two or three surrogate animals are usually used for one clone. This means that to create a clone of your pet, several animals of the same species and breed need to suffer and do things against their will. They will have to live in a lab, be given hormonal injections and give birth to pups that will be taken away from them.

Thinking of this, I no longer can accept pet cloning. And the exorbitant cost is also something we must take into consideration. Cloning your pet will not prolong its life. The new clone does not share any memories or personality traits of the original pet. It won't benefit animal welfare as a whole, either. The only thing it does is to make you, the owner, feel better. It's a selfish act that humans do to satisfy our immediate emotional needs.

If you really miss your old pet, adopt a new one that looks similar and try to forge a connection with it. I'm sure your memories of your old pet will still be carried forward.

The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Global Times.

Posted in: TWOCENTS

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