Different forms of cloning have existed for over 20 years, and the methods being used are continuously improving and made more efficient. A clone is an identical genetic copy of a living organism, or animal. The uses for this type of technology is truly astounding, but is leaving many people asking the question, is it right? While it is surely an amazing feat for the scientific and medical communities, the back lash has slowed this research dramatically. The debate is become more and more heated as the headlines begin to fill the news. In order to make a well informed decision about your stance on animal cloning, it is important to first learn the best and worst that this practice would bring.
The Advantages of Animal Cloning
1. Preserving Endangered Species
Thousands of species of animals are in risk of becoming extinct on the planet. Animal cloning would provide a glimmer of hope for these animals because the population could be greatly increased in a short period of time.
2. Animal Breeding Tool
Cloning would give breeders the power to breed different breeds and species without the risk of the offspring being weak or unhealthy. This would also allow for prize animals or superior animals to be cloned and help spread their beneficial traits to more of the species population.
3. Aids In Medical Research
Many different medicines and drugs are tested and developed with the use of animals. Using cloned animals, you are able to get much better and more accurate results of these tests. This is because the test subjects are all standardized and have the exact same features.
4. Beloved Pets Can Live On
It is very possible that once the practice of animal cloning is honed and becomes more and more common, that you could bring a family pet that has died, back to your home. Even today, veterinarians are offering the option of freezing small tissue samples from a pet that has passed away in case animal cloning becomes mainstream.
5. They’re Back!
Another fascinating possibility that animal cloning could offer to the world, is the recreation of animals that have been extinct from our planet for thousands of years. DNA is preserved in fossils of animals, and it is fully possible that some prehistoric beasts, like dinosaurs and mammoths could again roam the earth.
6. Eliminate Disease and Abnormalities
With animal cloning, you have the ability to pick and choose what traits you would like the animal to have. If you only clone animals with superior health and traits, then that is what the clones will have as well. You would then be able to breed these clones with other animals in an effort to pass on the traits.
The Disadvantages of Animal Cloning
1. Very Expensive Process
The research, equipment, knowledge, and facilities that are needed to clone, and further research cloning, animals is extremely costly. This has been a large hurdle for the medical and scientific communities to jump over. The funding, in many situations, is simply not there.
2. Exploitation of Animals
Even though cloned animals are exact copies of an already living one, they can still think and feel just the same. Many people would argue that cloning animals for the sole purpose of testing or monetary gain would be a gross exploitation of innocent creatures.
3. Alarming Failure Rates
The processes that have been developed and used to clone animals are highly insufficient and have very high failure rates. As of now, the somatic cell nuclear transfer process that is used to clone the animals only has a success rate of 0.1 percent to 2 percent. This means that out of 1000 cloning attempts, only between 1 and 20 clones would be made.
4. Abnormal Health Problems
The clones of animals tend to develop very unique health problems, many appearing directly after “birth”. This is mostly due to their genetic makeup being much older and more developed than their body is.
5. Reintroduction Of Bacteria
When thinking of the possibility of extinct animals being reintroduced to the earth, one big problem arises. There is no way to tell what exactly made up the genes of these animals, and by recreating them, we could introduce ancient bacteria or viruses back into the world.
6. Surrogate Mothers Suffer
In order for these clones to be born, they have to be carried to term by a surrogate mother animals. The embryos are implanted in them, and they carry the clone until they give birth. This has caused very severe health deformities and painful illnesses in these animals. Surrogate animals also have a high death rate in animal cloning research.
7. Much Higher Mortality Rates
Of all of the successfully cloned animals, many of them are not able to live more than a few weeks. When compared to the mortality rate of animals born traditionally, the rate of cloned animal deaths of the same age is significantly higher.
8. Moral and Ethical Dilemma
By far, the biggest issue that critics of animal cloning have is the idea of man playing God. The idea of cloning has been science fiction for hundreds of years, but with it becoming a very real reality, many people fear the repercussions of an act like this. Creating a copy of something that was created to be unique, is overstepping the bounds that humans should have.