English 3 Academy Honors
13 November 2018
Seeing Double: Why Cloning Breaks Ethical Boundaries
Dolly, born on July 5th, 1996 was the first ever cloned mammal. Dolly’s first years of life as a normal sheep were great. In her later years, the drawbacks from the cloning started to appear. These drawbacks eventually caused her suffer until she died at half the age of an expected sheep. Cloning animals is very unpredictable and can cause major health issues to the animal cloned. Some of these issues may be long term or short term effects, and the animals are suffering all for the sake of testing and experimenting. Cloning results in many problems, and there are many possibilities that something will go wrong, so to ensure the safety of animals cloning must end. Cloning animals is not ethical because cloning animals decreases genetic diversity, cloning animals causes animals to suffer, and an outcome of cloning animals can give rise to medical issues within the animal.
Cloning animals decreases genetic diversity and affects the long term health of livestock and other animals. Cloning livestock has many cons, one of them being that the outcome of cloning livestock for a long period of time can affect the genetic diversity in the livestock in the far future (Goldsmith). Animals that are cloned far to much tend to suffer much more, “cloning animals threatens the long term health of livestocking greed as genetic diversity declines”(Goldsmith). As a result of cloning animals it decreases the diversity within the animals. This also proves the point that a decrease in genetic diversity will cause the long term health of livestock to be affected. Additionally, cloning animals decreases the amount of animals that have different characteristics and genetic makeup, considering the amount of animals cloned each year society can expect species of livestock to all look the same in the future (Goldsmith).
If one animal is cloned multiple times because of the valuable characteristics it has, it will result in a reduction of the distinction in the genetic makeup within the animals. In the future if farmers have the same animal everywhere and no genetic distinctiveness, diseases or issues may rise within the cloned animals. Farmers around the world clone their best livestock to hopefully use them again, “farmers clone the same animal multiple times causing the entire herds genetic diversity to decrease” (Goldsmith). Farmers wanting to clone their best animal causes the genetic diversity to decrease because the same animal is cloned over and over again (Goldsmith). At the moment it looks very good to have the best animal cloned many times but in the future when all livestock have the same genetic makeup it can lead to disease within the livestock. However, when cloning livestock their are bound to be failures, causing each animal to suffer.
Cloning animals cause them to suffer and Dolly is a perfect example of this. Dolly was the first cloned livestock born on, July 5, 1996, and lived a painful life (Dolly). A scientist at the Roseland Institute where Dolly was born said, ”After Dolly gave birth to her last lamps and September 2000, it was discovered that she had become infected by a virus called jaagsiekte sheep retrovirus“ (Dolly). Because Dolly was the first mammal cloned there was many unpredictable factors that led to her early death. At the cost for Dolly’s early death scientist around the world got more information on how to clone animals and what exactly will happen when an animal is cloned (Dolly). With more scientist learning to clone animals, the more animals that will suffer at the cost of experiments.
The world has seen many deformities and medical issues in cloned animals, causing each animal to suffer. Often times when cloned animals are born, they are born like a normal animal, but a small percentage suffer greatly because of the deformities cloning has caused them. Roxanna Maas mentions the issue in an article saying, “Cloned cells however, may lack the programming necessary to tell genes when to turn on and off. The result may be disorganized cell growth or inappropriate cell functioning both of which can harm the organism”(Maas). Each animal’s lives matter and if there's a chance of an organism dying because of cloning, it should be considered animal cruelty. The cruelty caused by cloning is devastating, the deformities caused my cloning are severe, and their is a chance of death for every cloned animal (Maas). In conclusion, each animal cloned has a chance to suffer, but deformities are not the only thing causing them to suffer.
Cloned animals that attempt to reproduce have a high rate of failure and many suffer from the process. There are many cases of the parent giving birth dying or even the babies dying directly after birth caused by cloning. Many times the embryo has a very little chance of surviving, “pregnancy might fail if the embryo has failed to develop properly, or it may survive for a short period of time, then die later”(Maas). Each embryo has the option to turn into an animal, but if these embryos are used for experiments its may causes the animal that has the embryos taken from them to suffer. Even if the embryo survives it is a high rate of failure, meaning it was a waste of an essential life (Maas). Furthermore almost every animal involved with cloning suffers, either their embryos are taken or the cloned animal never sees the light of day.
Cloning animals has a chance to give rise to medical problems and many offspring produced by cloned animals die or have major health problems. Major health problems can consist of many things, for instance, unusually large organs, breathing dysfunctions, immune system failure, and many more. Society needs to rethink cloning animals with the risk of all these major health problems, “Many cloned offspring die within 24 hours of birth”(Hare). Offspring of cloned animals are more likely have some form of a medical issue than a regular animal (Hare). As mentioned before cloned offspring have a higher chance to have medical issues, some not even seeing daylight. To ensure that animals can see the light of day, society needs to end cloning.
Many medical issues may come about as a result of technology constantly changing. Technology is changing daily, it affects experiments on cloning animals and at times has drastic accidents involving animal deaths (Center). Technology being unpredictable makes the cloning process much more unsafe and can cause catastrophes to occur, “we have had many cloning failures, because of technology advancements”(Center). Because of the issues when cloning, it causes many medical problems for the cloned animal, usually resulting in death. Changing technology not only hurts the organisms but it also affects the animals they are taking cells from because the more failures, the more cells needed (Center). Furthermore many cloned animals that die from change in technology helps set cloning agency’s back preventing them from producing more cloned animals.
Cloned animals giving birth can have severe medical problems before, during, or even after reproduction.(Maas) As mentioned earlier, Dolly had many issues and one of them was that when she was born her health drop drastically and many medical issues arise. The scientist that took care of dolly made a statement saying “when dolly was born she was very normal but as her life continued she got arthritis and a virus in her lungs“(Dolly). Both of these issues caused her life to be half the lifespan of an average sheep . According to researchers, Dolly’s medical issues were because of the mitochondria and her cells not being totally comparable to the DNA from her parent clone (Dolly). Lastly, people need to stop cloning animals because their life expectancy is much shorter than the average animal.
One argument that supports cloning is that it can be beneficial. If society were to clone specific parts of an animal, in order to save an animal that is suffering, it would be very beneficial. Many animals could recover from major injuries or even diseases in certain sections of the body. For instance, if an animal suffers a major injury in their leg and needs either a new leg or have a leg amputated. Cloning would help with this process, because you could clone a replica of the animal and use the leg to recover the animal to how it was previously.. We could also use this for human somatic cells and even treat human issues. For instance if a person needs a new organ, the organ can be replicated and transplanted to the human in need. On the other hand the amount of test, and amount of animals that are required for this to be accomplished would be unpleasant. Most of the animals they experiment on suffer, which is why cloning animals is not ethical.
Each animal that is cloned is likely to suffer, decrease genetic diversity within a population, or give rise to medical issues, which is why cloning animals is not ethical. Dolly was a living example of the effects cloning has on an animal. Animals do not have a choice whether or not they are cloned and they cannot express the feelings they have. Every cloned animal has an increased chance to die, have deformities, have disease, or even pregnancy failure. Society needs to think about the harm each cloned animal and animal being cloned receives, and asked themselves if cloning animals is truly ethical or not.
Center for Veterinary Medicine. “Animal Cloning - Risk Management Plan.” US Food and Drug Administration Home Page, Apr. 2015
“Dolly Part One: The end of the beginning in mammalian cloning?” Nature Genetics, vol. 24, Nov. 4, 2000, p. 347. Opposing Viewpoints Center
Goldsmith, Edward. Cloned Animals a ‘Threat to Genetic Diversity’ The Ecologist, 17 Nov. 2017.
Hare, Doug. Cloning : Opposing Viewpoints. Greenhaven Press / Gale Cengage Learning, Aug. 2012.
Maas, Roxanne. What are the Risk Associated with Cloning Animals? [Opposites Attract]. Biological Questions, 24 Aug. 2015.