Is Pet Cloning A Blessing or Curse?

Cloned Service Dogs

There is a lot of pet cloning going on in the world today, including the cloning of the family pet. Much of it is done in the United States by for-profit businesses serving the farming, Armed Services, and even the horse racing industry!

Would You Clone Your Pet?

(This was a multi-media speech I gave at a Toastmasters’ meeting)

This is an interesting question but before we can decide on whether or not we would clone our pets, we should gather some information to help make a good decision. Let’s start by looking into the history of cloning.

Meet “Dolly”

Dolly the cloned sheep

Pet Cloning “Little Nicky”

Cloned cat "Little Nicky"
1st cloned cat. The owner paid $50,000 US$

Little Nicky (born October 17, 2004) is the first commercially produced cat clone. He was produced from the DNA of a 19-year-old Maine Coon cat named Nicky who died in 2003. Little Nicky’s owner, a North Texas woman named Julie (whose last name was not released) paid $50,000 to have Nicky cloned.

The Humane Society of the United States and other animal welfare groups denounced pet cloning, saying that the $50,000 could have been better used to save some of the millions of animals euthanized each year.

Meet “Booger”

Booger the 1st cloned dog
“Booger” is the 1st commercially cloned dog.

This American woman received five puppies that were cloned from her beloved late pitbull, becoming the inaugural customer of a South Korean company that says it is the world’s first successful commercial canine cloning service. As the 1st customer, she only had to pay $50,000!

Pet Cloning Begins

$50,000 pet cloning to clone a dog

Expensive Christmas Present

British couple used pet cloning to clone a dead pet
Merry Christmas, British couple clone dead pet.

A British couple has flown to South Korea to await the arrival of two puppies due to be born over Christmas after having their dead pet cloned. Laura Jacques and Richard Remde are the first British customers of the Sooam Biotech Research Foundation.  Dec 2015

Let’s look at some other uses of cloning:

Airport Security

Toppy is the name given to seven cloned Labrador Retriever dogs, born in late 2007 to three surrogate mothers. Yes, three different mothers! They were the world’s first cloned working dogs and were used by the Korea Customs Service.

Cloned Labrador Retrievers
Drug-Sniffing Dogs Celebrate Remarkable Success in South Korean Airport.

Each Toppy is a clone of a successful sniffer dog in Canada. The Toppy dogs needed 16 months of training to qualify to work for the South Korean Customs Service. Only 10-15% of dogs are genetically predisposed to being effective detection dogs.

"Toppy" a cloned Golden Retriever
“Toppy,” cloned Golden Retrievers serves as airport security.

Clones for Endangered Species

Ethiopian Wolf
Only 100 Ethiopian Wolf pups remain. Can cloning save them?

Feb 8, 2016 – Cloning the Ethiopian wolf.  Sooam hopes to preserve these gene pools by cryogenically banking the cells of as many individual wolves as possible. … If they succeed, they hope to be providing cloned pups for re-population efforts within a year.

Cloning for Food

Cloned Cows
Cows are cloned by the 1,000’s
Cloned Water Buffalo
Cloned Water Buffalo

Buffalo (Bubalus bubalis) is a major source of milk, meat, and drought power in many developing countries in Asia. Animal cloning holds a lot of potential for the fast multiplication of elite buffaloes and the conservation of their valuable DNA.

Pet Cloning for Personal Gain?

Pet Cloning prized Steer wins award
Cloned prized Steer

The 4-H Grand Champion Steer, Doc, at the Iowa State Fair in 2010 is a clone of the 2008 Champion, Wade, the first time a cloned animal has won at the fair. The incident is raising questions about the fairness of using the expensive breeding technique in a youth competition. Doc was shown by Tyler Faber, whose father, David, is president of Trans Ova Genetics of Sioux Center, IA. The firm specializes in advanced livestock breeding techniques, including cloning.

Pet Cloning for Big Profit

Pet cloning ad for Viagen pet cloning.

ViaGen Pets is a world leader in animal cloning, having delivered thousands of healthy, happy animals. You can begin the cloning process online and by making your initial 50% deposit for your horse cloning.

Cloned Horses
Equine Cloning for $42,500.00

Cloning for War

Cloned Army Dogs
Special Ops clones Ghost and Echo between bite-training sessions in Sharpsville, Pa. Photograph by Thomas Prior for Bloomberg Businessweek.

Two Belgian Malinois puppies, cloned from the DNA of a dog that’s currently deployed with a unit of the U.S. Army Special Forces.

Cloned Military dogs
Identical twin Army dog clones play together

Two puppies growing up in a local kennel in Pennsylvania are as playful, curious and energetic as other pups but they’re very different from most other dogs. Ghost and Echo are identical copies of each other.

Special Report: Dog Cloning for Special Forces

Not “Identical”

Pet Cloning not identical twin dogs
Cloned identical twin dogs

Thanks to a cloned dog having different mitochondrial DNA from its genetic donor, they’re slightly less related than identical twins.

1st Cloned Dog

Pet Cloning - Snuppy the 1st cloned dog
Snuppy was born on April 24, 2005.

Snuppy (right), the first successfully cloned dog, is shown at 67 days after birth with Tai, the three-year-old Afghan hound whose skin cells were used to clone him. South Korean scientists at Seoul National University performed the cloning procedure, and Snuppy was born on April 24, 2005.

To produce Snuppy, the first dog clone, over 1,000 embryos were surgically transferred to 123 surrogates, resulting in three pregnancies. Out of those three, one fetus miscarried, and two were carried to term — one clone had neonatal respiratory distress and died within three weeks, and the other became the world-famous Snuppy.

Update Nov. 2013: Snuppy, the world’s first cloned dog, may live in perpetuity. Scientists have announced the birth of three clones of Snuppy, the Afghan hound who died in April 2015, just 13 days after celebrating his 10th birthday.

Reality Check on Pet Cloning

Check out these troubling statistics from the Humane Society of the United States:

  • 99 percent of cloning attempts fail
  • 1,000’s of embryos discarded
  • 100’s of egg “donors” -needless surgeries
  • 100’s of surrogate mothers
Humane Society Logo

Factory Farming

Factory farming is the single biggest cause of animal cruelty. Compassion supporters have already improved the lives of millions of farm animals. But there is still so much more to do.

Compassion in world farming
There is a campaign in the United Kingdom to end cruel factory farming.
Factory farming
“Factory Pig Farm” of cloned pigs.
Cloned boar goat
Cloned goat dies in front of its mother.

Many cloned farm animals are born with deformed organs and live short and miserable lives.

Cesarean Births

Pet Cloning results in Cesarean Dog Birth
Getting ready for the Cesarean that will deliver another cloned puppy into the world

Cloned embryos tend to be large and can result in painful births that are often carried out by Cesarean section.

500 Clones A Day!

Supporters of Hwang founded a company called Sooam Biotech where Hwang developed proprietary techniques based on a license from ViaGen’s subsidiary Start Licensing (which owns the original Dolly patent) and created cloned dogs for owners whose dogs had died, charging $100,000 a time. Sooam Biotech was reported to have cloned 700 dogs by 2015 and to be producing 500 cloned embryos of various species a day in 2016. Do you think pet cloning has gone too far?

Booger(s) Come Home

Pet Cloning: Cloned puppies
Booger Returns!

Surrogate mothers endure additional surgery to deliver the baby. Remember Booger? He was 1 of 5.  Pictured here with one of their surrogate mother dogs at the Seoul National  Airport 2008. The poor mother dog doesn’t know her puppies are about to be whisked away. I am beginning to think pet cloning is not worth it. Even if I could afford it!

Pet Cloning Continues

Pet Cloning in NC
NC Cat Cloned for $25k in 2019

A couple paid a cool $25,000 to clone their beloved cat which had been with them since they were newlyweds. Bryan and Ashley Bullerdick decided to duplicate the rescue cat Cinnabun when the feline was nearing its 19th birthday.

For consideration: What will happen to cloned pets who fail to meet  expectations?

Would I clone my pet?

So, after this review would I clone my pet? The answer is: NO! I will not clone our new puppy! I will enjoy her while I have her!

6 month old pitbull puppy
“Little Bear” our 6 mo. old Pitbull

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Originally posted on August 14, 2020
Updated 01/24/24


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