Stop The Cruel Process of Animal cloning
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Ethicality of Animal Cloning
When you see a cute puppy or piglet, your first thought probably isn’t that it comes from a very cruel background, although that may be the case. That puppy may be a clone and that piglet may have cloned human organs that are soon to be harvested. Dog cloning is when eggs from a dog are harvested and then injected into the cells of another dog to produce embryos that may survive and grow into a cloned dog. Human-pig chimeras are pigs on the outside but, on the inside, they have been genetically engineered to grow cloned human organs. Dog cloning not only involves countless surgeries on surrogate dogs but it greatly benefits the dog meat market, too. Cloning human-pig organs is the reason for the unnecessary slaughter of many pigs even though the process has not yet been successful. If cloning cannot be carried out successfully and ethically, it shouldn’t be done at all because it is in violation of the Animal Welfare Act and the basic rights of the lab animals involved.
Cloning doesn’t have very long history, as most people consider it to have started in 1996 with the first cloned mammal, Dolly the sheep (Bronar). Since then, scientists attempted to clone many other mammals, most notably, dogs. According to The Science Behind Dog Cloning, the first step of cloning is collecting cells from the animal you want to clone and keeping the cells preserved by refrigerating the sample from the animal. Then, eggs need to be collected from an egg donor. Using a microscope, scientists extract the DNA from the eggs and replace it with the cells from the animal that is going to be cloned. The eggs are then shot with an electric burst to jumpstart the growing process and act as a replacement for sperm. Then, the eggs are implanted into the uterus of the surrogate mother. After that, the embryos continue to develop normally (“The Science Behind Dog Cloning”).
Cloning, in its current state, should not be performed due to the physical and emotional pain that it creates and the possibilities for happiness that it ends. One instance of physical pain caused by cloning comes from Smithsonian Magazine. It reports that each surrogate dog used in cloning is operated on multiple times throughout the course of one pregnancy and is often used to deliver multiple litters of puppies. This causes irreversible physical and mental harm to the surrogates, as it understandably would to any animal who undergoes this kind of abuse. In an interview with The New York Post, a man who had his beloved dog cloned mentioned how his dog had come from a kill shelter and with all the money he spent to clone his dog, he could’ve saved so many animals like his departed dog. Through his expressions of regret, one can tell that cloning is stealing the happy endings from many shelter dogs and their would-be owners. When cloning is for the sole purpose of killing the clone to harvest its organs, it’s easy to see where moral disputes might arise. Without even considering the unethical treatment of the pigs used to create chimeras, there is clear physical trauma to the people who are in need of an organ and are being used in experiments with chimeras. Often, patients need to undergo terribly painful and invasive surgeries just to get a tissue sample before scientists even know if the cloning will be successful let alone if the organs would be transferable (Blakemore).
With this information in mind, some still choose to support cloning as a viable option for cloning both pets and organs. A commonly given reason for this belief is the past experiments with mice organs grown in rats and transplanted back into mice. Pieces of mouse pancreas grown in a rat-mouse chimera, transplanted into mice, were proven to cure diabetes in afflicted mice (McFarling). This is, admittedly, a very good proof of concept for chimera organ cloning, though mice and rats have more genetic similarities than pigs and humans have. In a New York Post article, a family who cloned their old dog while still alive was interviewed. They bought two of the cloned puppies who got to grow up in a household with their older clone. The mother in the family, Paula Dupont, described one of the tricks that the oldest dog did and said, “The puppies do exactly the same thing, and they have the exact bark.” This supposedly backs up the idea that if two animals have the same DNA, they will have the same personalities and memories.
Though there are pros and cons to every topic, some pros of cloning may not be as substantially groundbreaking as they seem. For instance, the mouse pancreases that were grown in rats and successfully transplanted into mice (McFarling) worked because of the genetic similarities between mice and rats. Humans and pigs don’t share as much of their DNA in common as the mice and rats do. In fact, there hasn’t been a single organ grown inside a pig that could be transplanted into a human without being rejected because all the organs produced so far have contained too much pig DNA to be compatible with humans. With dog cloning, there’s a different misconception. When the Dupont family noticed similar behavior in their original dog and its clones, they misattributed the similarities to the genetic makeup of their dogs. However, memories aren’t genetic, so the similarities were most likely because the clones grew up with the older dog and learned by watching his actions.
Despite all the advancements made in the field of cloning, there is plenty of evidence to show that the success rate is too low and the ethical shortcomings too common for cloning to be performed in the field’s current state. Whether it be for the harvesting of organs for patients in need of a transplant or the cloning of a cherished family pet, there are solutions that a far simpler and more ethical than to clone.
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