Pet Clones: On the Threshold of Cloning Humans?

By Eric Metaxas Published on August 29, 2018

God created man in His image. Are we on the verge of man making man in his own image?

The latest issue of Vanity Fair has an article on what may be the ultimate form of conspicuous consumption: cloning your dead pets, specifically dogs.

Most Americans were unaware such a thing was possible, never mind commonplace, until Barbra Streisand mentioned it in passing during an interview with Variety magazine that her two current dogs were clones of her dog Samantha, who died last year. As Streisand later explained in the New York Times, “every time I look at [the faces of Samantha’s clones], I think of my Samantha … and smile.”

Streisand isn’t the only person who has cloned her dead pet. When the Vanity Fair article calls dog cloning “very big” and “very controversial,” it’s correct on both counts.

Many ethicists cite the “pain and suffering” involved in producing a single canine clone, which exceeds the suffering in natural reproduction.

Take, for instance, the Sooam Biotech Research Foundation in Seoul, South Korea. In the last ten years, Sooam has produced more than 1,000 clones of deceased dogs.

As you may have guessed, dog cloning is very expensive. The cost runs from about $50,000 to $100,000 per birth and the clientele mostly reflects it: superstar divas, “Middle Eastern royalty,” and the “billionaire founder of Phoenix University,” to name but a few.

Sooam’s founder is Hwang Woo-Suk. In 2004, he claimed to have successfully cloned a human embryo. His claim was later shown to be a “spectacular hoax,” and he was sentenced to two years prison. He escaped actually serving time because the judge ruled that he “has truly repented for his crime.”

Perhaps he had. What’s clear is that Hwang hasn’t lost any enthusiasm for cloning. While he insists that “Here in Sooam we are steadfastly against human cloning,” he insists that “Animal-cloning ethics and human-cloning ethics have completely different values.” He adds that “animal cloning can bring us benefits and help us contribute socially.”

Many ethicists disagree. They cite the “pain and suffering” involved in producing a single canine clone, such as potentially dangerous hormone treatments and genetic abnormalities. This exceeds the suffering in natural reproduction.

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Then there’s the elephant in the room: human cloning. Earlier this year, scientists in China announced that they had “created two cloned monkeys,” using the same technique used to create “Dolly the sheep,” two decades ago.

The head researcher at Sooam told Vanity Fair that “These monkeys are very close to us genetically … which means you should be able to clone a human.”

The head of the Stem Cell Program at Boston Children’s Hospital told the Times, “We are closer to humans than we’ve ever been before … That raises questions of where we would want to go.”

Assuming the technical obstacles can be overcome, the answer should be obvious: If people are willing to pay $50-100 thousand dollars to assuage their pain over losing a pet, imagine what they would be willing to pay when we’re talking about family members and loved ones.

As Vanity Fair put it, “If distraught parents think a clone would resemble 85 percent of their child’s appearance and personality … it’s only a matter of time until pressure will inexorably mount to give it a shot. If there’s enough demand, the market will do its best to respond.”

And that’s the “best-case scenario.” The worst-case scenario is something akin to Kazuo Ishiguro’s novel Never Let Me Go, where clones are created to provide their “owners” with spare body parts.

If this sounds like science fiction to you, so did cloning your pets until recently.


Originally published on BreakPoint Commentaries. Republished with permission of The Colson Center for Christian Worldview.

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  • Patmos

    Messing with the fundamental building blocks of creation, just like in the days of Noah…

    • What caused the flood was men pretending to marry men.

      • Jim

        Lol! You are quite the entertainer

        • you have no argument, blasphemer.

          • Jim

            There was no global flood

          • Yes there was as all cultures have a half-remembered version of it in their society.

          • Jim

            Prove it

          • you can certainly look it up. The Chinese and Indians have them for example.

  • m-nj

    “The worst-case scenario is something akin to Kazuo Ishiguro’s novel Never Let Me Go, where clones are created to provide their “owners” with spare body parts.”

    which was the basis of the movie, “The Island”, from a few years ago with Ewan McGregor and Scarlett Johansson… a pretty good (and foreboding) flick, especially with respect to how the company controlled the clones until their parts were needed. www imdb com/title/tt0399201.

  • Jim

    This isn’t anything new. They’ve been cloning animals for a while.

    • To what end, dear demoniac?

      • Jim

        No such thing as demons

        • Once more, then why do you serve the devil with every breath? Why is everything you do in perfect unison with the devil’s desires?

          • Jim

            Your devil exists only in your own mind.

          • I have no demon. you on the other hand worship the devil with every single one of your actions.

            It is actually a common defense mechanism for satanists to deny the devil exists when asked, despite performing sacrifices and spells.

          • Jim

            Lol. The devil doesn’t and never has existed. Keep trying

          • Then why do you worship the devil?

        • KC

          If you are right – you have nothing to fear.

  • Ken Abbott

    A cloned family member could be nothing more at first than a simulacrum of the deceased. What made that person were the relationships and experiences that could never be duplicated. What pain there would arise when the clone turns out to be a whole ‘nother person altogether.

    • Trilemma

      True. Humans who are natural clones are not exactly the same so you can’t expect artificial clones to be the same.

    • KC

      Man cannot duplicate the spirit or the soul of a person – so what would a clone really be?

      • Ken Abbott

        Man can’t; God can. This is speculation, but I believe God would graciously impart the soul to such a one.

  • Trilemma

    When are they going to clone a dinosaur? I want a dinosaur for Christmas!

    • Kepi

      Brings back memories of when you were a little girl.

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