Nothing has sparked the public imagination like the cloning of animals. The idea that we can create animals through science and test tubes has raised a number of interesting philosophical, ethical, and environmental questions that we as a society are still trying to figure out.
At the moment, animal cloning continues for a number of reasons with the hopes of making our lives as individuals better. The conditions that are created through the cloning process however are questionable, leading many people to debate whether or not the process is really worth it.
To help make sense of this issue, lets review the pros and cons of animal cloning as they relate to us individually, and as a society as a whole. With any luck, by the time you finish this essay, you will have a better understanding of what side of the argument you are on.
List of Pros of Animal Cloning
1. Can Bring Your Beloved Animal Back In Form
One of the most interesting uses of cloning has been to bring back pets who have passed away. Still experimental, this process requires a great deal of effort and has cost upwards of a million dollars in the past. With tissue samples taken from the deceased pet, the genetic information is cultivated and grown into a genetic copy of the original. Forgoing standard reproduction, cloning has the ability to re-create a deceased pet, effectively bringing them back for their owners. While this process has a number of quarks to figure out, it no doubt offers an interesting and exciting outlook for the field of cloning.
2. Can Be Used As A Quicker, More Effective Way to Create Meat
In the United States, there is a growing movement against the mass production of meat through unhealthy and at times cruel living conditions for the animals. Cloning offers a way to solve this problem by taking the animals completely out of the equation. By taking sample of muscle and flesh and growing them in a lab, the material can theoretically be cloned again and again to create living meat that grows into our favorite cuts. Such research is already well underway. Because of the initial cost of the research, it has led to many interesting headlines like “eating the 1 million dollar hamburger,” and the like. Regardless, as the technology and materials become available, cloned meat may very well become real. With cloned meat may come a drop in the cost of meat production, leading a greater number of individuals to eat healthier as a result.
3. Can Have benefits in Genetic Testing and Drug Research
By cloning particular parts of animals, we can create thousands of more mediums for genetic testing and drug research. In addition, with enough time, we can create specific genetic parameters to specifically create and target with drugs. The end result is that drug testing on living creatures can be decreased dramatically, saving many animals from suffering unnecessarily.
Once again, the major pros of animal research is that it has potential to make clones of lost pets, it can be a quicker and more effective way to create meat for consumption, and it can create templates for genetic and drug research. With that being said, the greatest pros come from the potential that this research provides. In a moment we will take a look at the cons associated with cloning. With one exception, most of the cons are associated with how the cloning process is carried out today. Let’s get started.
List of Cons of Animal Cloning
1. Cannot Bring Back Your Beloved Pet’s Personality
Individuals who have asked to have their animals cloned, and who have paid the fees to do so acted out of a desire to have their old animals come back to life. However, a beloved pet is more then just muscle bone, and fur. We as individuals take a great deal of stock in the personality of our pets. When it comes to cloning, the personality of our pet in our clone is not guaranteed. Simply put, we can clone the pet, but not the personality. As a result, individuals who have cloned their pets have been shocked when the pet acts differently, having to adopt to a pet that may look the same, but acts in ways that no owner has envisioned.
2. Can Be Seen As Mistreatment of Animals, Or Lead To Such
There is a great deal of pushback regarding cloning because of the treatment of the animals involved. While the advancements created from the research is promising, the lives of the animals being cloned ranges from perfectly normal to cage life. In addition to the potential for animals to be mistreated now, there is the fear that animals will be mistreated in the future as well. If such technology leads to unhealthy or sickly clones, then these creatures are looking at a lifetime of suffering because of our mistakes in engineering. As a result, it is believe that the cloning process can lead to undo suffering.
3. Where Does This Lead
Is it right to clone a tadpole? What about cloning an animal? An animal is far more complex then a tadpole. An animal shows and experiences pain as well as other animals. Now what happens when we follow this line of thinking to its inevitable end? What happens if/when we begin trying to clone people?
Cloning people is the subject of science fiction, fantasy, and our not so distant future. As our understanding of the human body, as well as our genetics, continue to grow, we are finding the prospect of cloning humans to be increasingly possible.
What we are left with then are the ethical and moral considerations regarding cloning. Can we clone ourselves and use our cloned selves as a stock of organs when needed? What rights would we have over our cloned selves? Would they be independent? Would we have control over them? Cloning raises an amazing number of questions that we are still trying to deal with. From the idea of having cloned armies to the near god like feat of bring sentience to life through a non-standard mean, cloning has a number of risks associated with it. There is however one thing that is certain. Given the advancements in cloning going on, these are all questions we will soon begin having to find answer for.
Cons to cloning include the pervasive question of what cloning will lead to, the mistreatment of animals, and the lack of a personality transfer. More to the point, these cons bring to mind the various ethical, moral, and philosophical questions that do not yet have answers.
Where Does That Leave Us?
Simply put, this leaves us waiting for additional advancements to be made in the field of cloning. As experiments are run around the world pushing the envelope of science ever further, only time will tell us what is truly possible and what is not. As these advancements come, we will be better equipped to formulate an appropriate response regarding the sheer number of exciting and troubling theoretical that come from this subject.