Posted: August 12th, 2013
Is Cloning Pets Ethically Justified
Pet cloning is an interesting issue that has attracted a lot of debate. People hold diverse views on whether pet cloning is moral or immoral. Pet cloning as compared to the cloning of other animals is a special case. Unlike other animals, which are cloned for their universal benefits, pet cloning is quite different. The benefits derived from pets are for their owners only. Pet cloning therefore carries benefits to the individual pet owner. There have been many arguments on whether it is ethically right to clone pets. Autumn Fiester and Hilary Bok have expressed differing views on this topic. Some of their arguments are illustrated below.
Arguments For Cloning
Autumn Fiester supports the cloning of animals especially pets. She argues that pet owners adore their pets and have a special attachment to them (Fiester 34). Cloning therefore shows that pets and their owners have an affable relationship, and this therefore justifies the need for pet cloning as it demonstrates this love between man and animal. She argues that cloning benefits the animals in ways that are greater than the pain these animals suffer while being cloned. Cloning in this case is as important as advanced veterinary care techniques. It raises the status of pets, and they are seen as animals that deserve respect and honor from their handlers. Anti-cloning supporters argue that; cloning causes untold suffering to animals. In addition, they say that it may cause an increase in the number of unwanted pets. They also argue that cloning companies lie to and extort money from unsuspecting pet owners. Fiester counters all these arguments in her support for pet cloning.
On the issue of animal suffering, she argues that cloning experts and scientists have improved their services and few animals experience pain during cloning (Fiester 37). She also says that cloned animals are healthier than un-cloned ones. According to a study performed on cloned cattle, those that grew past childhood were healthier than non-cloned cattle. On unwanted pets, Fiester says that the claims are unfounded, and there is no connection between the number of unwanted pets and the cloning of pets. Critics claim that pet owners who insist on cloning their pets are in a better position to adopt abandoned animals. The number of animals produced by cloning is insignificant as far as the number of abandoned animals is concerned. The third critique concerns the exploitation of pet owners by cloning companies. Critics say that cloning companies such as Genetic Savings and Clone mislead pet owners into believing that they are getting their pet back. Genetic Savings and Clone however argue that this is not the case. They inform their clients on the difference. Fiester argues that how firms advertise cloning is not a moral or ethical concern. One main argument in favor of pet cloning is that it raises the status of pets. The attitudes of people towards pets change for the better when they observe the kind of treatment these pets get from their owners. Pet cloning creates the impression that a pet is a distinct animal and people learn to appreciate and view pets in a dignified way.
Argument Against Pet Cloning
Hilary Bok, on the other hand, argues that pet cloning is ethically and morally unjust. He claims that it is not a safe process, and many people do not understand its implications (Bok 233). The first point that he puts across is that cloning causes a lot of suffering to animals. Animals that donate eggs used in cloning are subjected to stimulation, and the eggs are then extracted from their ovaries by surgery. The life of the surrogate mother is always at risk. Clones experience more problems however, they can be miscarried or sometimes die at a very early age. According to cloning reports by the National Academy of Sciences (2002), of 242 cloned cattle, there were 174 miscarriages, 26 premature deaths and out of the remaining, five had health complications.
Cloned animals develop health problems. Critics may argue that these problems only occur in certain species of animals (Bok 236). These problems have however occurred in all other cloned species other than cattle and can happen in any subsequent clones. Scientists argue that they might come up with techniques in the future that might detect probable problems before a clone is carried. It is highly unlikely that someone will discover such a technique since most of the genes used in cloning are always inactive before the process. Thus, clones will continue enduring pain and suffering compared to other animals.
Pet lovers are usually grieved so much when they lose an animal they love. They usually want that animal back. This is compared to a parent who loses their child; their first reaction is to want their child back. This is what blurs their understanding on the adverse effects of cloning on the pet. Their decision is made against a backdrop of grief and loss. Pet lovers should however understand that cloning does not bring their pets back. Even if the clone resembles their original pet, it is not the original, but pet owners usually think that because the clones resemble their pets they therefore represent the originals. Clones will however never be equal to the originals in fact they may differ in behavior and attributes due to the different environs in which they have been raised. Consider the previous example of the cloned cattle. The cattle were cloned from healthy non-defective animals, but they end up developing complications. Clones are therefore different from the original in many distinct ways.
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