Cloning Your Pet: Harmful Keepsake Or Unethical Pandora’s Box?

Cloning has not been as much of a hot-button topic since the “glory days” — if you can call them that — of the late 1990s and early 2000s.

At one time, the debate over whether it was immoral even made its way onto the era’s most popular sitcom, Seinfeld, in a joke where Jerry mentions “they’re cloning sheep now,” to which Kramer protests they’re not really cloning sheep and that “it’s the same sheep,” the product of a magic trick he once saw on a variety show.

It seems that Americans, and the world in general, have found other debates to have, but that could be about to change following the story of Laura Jacques and Richard Remde, who recently spoke to the Guardian about the loss of their beloved pet boxer.

In the piece, the West Yorkshire couple opens up about the hurt they felt when they lost their 8-year-old dog, Dylan. They also unleash the following double-take reveal.

“We have stored Dylan in the freezer until the garden is properly finished off and then we will bury him in a wooden coffin,” Jacques admitted. “Richard is going to make him a gravestone. But I don’t feel I’m ready to bury him just yet.”

Image via Jacques/Remde c/o The Guardian

But not only is Jacques “not ready” to bury Dylan, she has commissioned scientists to clone two new puppies from Dylan’s cells.

The dogs will be “the first in the world to be duplicated from a pet that had been dead for more than two weeks,” the news site noted.

Pretty much any pet lover can identify with Jacques, who admitted that throughout her dog’s life, she “worried about how I would cope when I lost him.”

“The vet often used to say to me that his temperament was not a typical boxer; it was as if he was a different dog in a boxer’s body. He was so gentle,” Jacques said.

She continued.

“We [she and Remde] talked about getting married and I really wanted Dylan to be at my wedding. He was so soft that children used to climb into his basket and fall asleep with him. If I was sad he knew instinctively and would lick away my tears. Just looking at him made my heart melt.”

Still, not everyone is convinced that Jacques and Remde are acting in a “moral” manner, and some were offended that the couple was willing to spend £67,000 (or close to $100,000 U.S.) on the procedure.

One commenter to the Guardian’s original story — found here — called it “awful, awful news” and wondered why the couple wouldn’t simply save the life of a shelter animal instead.

Another commenter raised the interesting question of what makes life, life, pointing out that a cloned animal would be unique in its own right, not a replica of its former host.

This commenter, too, believed that Jacques and Remde were doing something terrible for spending so much on two new puppies when they could have been “saving the lives of hundreds of animals.”

While there are definite benefits to cloning, like providing additional food sources in a world of increasing population, most had a problem with it being used in a “superfluous” manner.

While animal cloning experiments, according to the Genome government website, have been going on for a half-century, it was in 1996 that the first mammal was cloned.

“After 276 attempts, Scottish researchers finally produced Dolly, the lamb from the udder cell of a 6-year-old sheep,” the site notes, adding that two years later, Japanese researchers “cloned eight calves from a single cow, but only four survived.”

What do you think about cloning, specifically cloning as the grieving pet lovers above have used it — okay or immoral?

[Image via Jacques/Remde, linked above]