Animal House: A Question Of Cloning | WGLT

Animal House: A Question Of Cloning

May 9, 2017

As expensive as it is, pet parents can be tempted to clone a beloved pet.
Credit Kai Schreiber / Flickr via Creative Commons

After losing a beloved pet, it's only natural to want to have your buddy back again. And with cloning technology available, it's very tempting to do just that. But is it a good idea?

In a word, no.

That's according to Dr. Matt Fraker from the Prairie Oak Veterinary Center in Normal.

"It's so important to remember that you're not getting an exact copy when you clone," said Fraker. "Now, there have been people who have been very happy with the results—their pets were similar enough to the original animal. But also keep in mind the risk factors of spending $100,000 and then having it do something unrelated to cloning, like slipping a leash and running out into the street to get hit by a car when it's 2 years old."

Cloning sparks a convoluted conversation when it comes to the pros and cons, noted Fraker.

"In terms of the ethical considerations, there's some concerns that you may have to take a couple of rounds of cloning, and in the process you may be creating some creatures that have some significant birth defects. Should we be doing that to get back to our original pet? Remembering—critically—that you're NOT going to get back to your original pet in the first place."

"Now, you can't tell someone that their emotions are wrong. If you could just step back for a minute and take a breather, with the money that you're spending to get your pet cloned, you could do a great amount of good for a gazillion pets out there."

When you get a new pet, you get the joy of the discovery process with a new friend with a new personality with whom you can make new memories.

"There is a celebratory joy of the new animal and what that animal is going to bring to your life," said Fraker. "Animals are so complicated and they're going to bring something new and different to your life. To me, it seems like cloning is an excessive waste for a high risk—taking tens of thousands of dollars and investing it in an animal that may disappoint you because it's not exactly like the original pet."

"We've got all these dogs and cats being killed every day because there's not enough homes for them. Why not take that money and put it into helping homeless animals and then somewhere in the process, go find your next new pet."

A face that's one-in-a-million! Pugsley is the Animal House Pet of the Week and is at Wish Bone Canine Rescue. He'd love a good home!
Credit Wish Bone Canine Rescue

WGLT depends on financial support from users to bring you stories and interviews like this one. As someone who values experienced, knowledgeable, and award-winning journalists covering meaningful stories in central Illinois, please consider making a contribution.