Ethical Concerns in Animal Cloning.
Ethical Concerns in Animal Cloning.
The year 1996 was a significant year in the biotechnology field because it marked the conception of successful animal cloning after much-sought attempts. Scientists had managed to clone Dolly the sheep, as a surrogate to a six-year-old sheep. To date, animal cloning has seen a variety of successful clones, ranging from cows, chicken, dogs pigs, goats and rats among other animal species. Regardless of this achievement, Dolly began to develop health problems like arthritis, and it was also established that she had tumors in her lungs, which may have been transferred from the original. Dolly only lived for six years, half the expected years of a normal healthy sheep. This setback has five room for speculation and assumptions regarding animal cloning. Many feel that cloning is unnatural, as it interferes with normal functioning of animals. Others claim that animal cloning is subjecting animals to torture for the benefit of human exploration.
A survey conducted by Center for Genetics and Society shows that most Americans have over the years, consistently opposed the issue of animal cloning, particularly pet cloning, and using cloning to revive extinct or endangered animal species. Various organizations, including Pew, YouGov, and Gallup was mandated to draft questions regarding animal cloning as either “morally acceptable/good idea, or morally wrong /bad idea”. Gallup found that 51% of respondents felt that cloning of animals is morally wrong as at May 2018. Additionally, 67% of respondents engaged in Pew Research disapproved the use of genetic engineering to de-extinct animals (Center for Genetics and Society 2018). This data reveals the extent to which the general public disapproves animal cloning. Ethical Concerns in Animal Cloning.
Animal cloning raises ethical issues which are construed to be not right according to the moral teachings and christianity values. The first moral issue concerns the consequences cloning has on the animals. Secondly, the cloning process goes against the societal believes of God is the Supreme Being who has the right of creating all living organisms. The animals involved in the cloning process most likely undergo torture and pain because scientific activities are performed on their bodies without their consent (Fiester 2005). These negative effects of cloning are referred to as consequentialist because they focus on some unnatural possibilities. Human beings are the only living organisms who have capabilities of thinking and acting on their own. The animals live in their natural habitat that is under threat from human beings. By humans cloning animals is taking advantage of their inability to think and this is not righteous. Ethical Concerns in Animal Cloning.
From the consequentialism ethical theory, an action is categorized as correct or wrong depending on the effects of that act. The theory asserts that the better consequences that result from the act make the act to be viewed as good. Not only the acts of cloning will affect the animals but also the human beings are likely to be affected indirectly. Scientists are trying to perfect the act of animal cloning which might act as a control experiment to try and start the human cloning process. The process has found itself being tried with the human reproductive system. Animal cloning has resulted in trials of test tube babies in humans. The change and alteration of human genetic composition come with positive and negative consequences. Ethical Concerns in Animal Cloning.
According to the utilitarianism theory, as long as the effects of an act benefits or satisfies the largest population, even if the means used is morally or unmorally right, the act is considered righteous (Mill 2016 ). The theory can be applied in animal cloning by considering the impacts it has on humans, animals, and the environment. A greater percentage of the population is against the act of animal cloning because it goes against the biblical teachings, and negatively affects the health conditions of cloned animals. Humans and all living organisms have the right to life, and anything that puts the lives of both in danger is a threat to life existence. Thus, by the utilitarianism theory, cloning results in more and severe consequences and should not be encouraged. Additionally, human beings are at risk because the scientists have started the testing process of cloning humans. There is a possibility that human cloning will encourage people to disregard the importance of marriage. The sole purpose of marriage is for procreation purposes. By encouraging cloning in human beings, people will avoid marriages and opt to have kids through test tube or surrogate mothers. Eventually, this will erode societal moral values and norms concerning marriage. Ethical Concerns in Animal Cloning.
Those against animal cloning have used deontology as a basis for their ethical concerns. Those that use this approach believe that cloning in science violates morality and prohibits a sense of duty. They argue that humans have an intrinsic ability to determine what is morally right. They argue that by carrying out cloning, humans are “playing God”(Armstrong & Richard 2016). They ask questions like “Is it in our place to do so?” and “Ought we be creating life?” Many people that hold this thought are religious people. However, even the secular version argues that by doing this, we are dehumanizing ourselves and devaluing the natural world. Another deontological perspective argues that cloning animals negate their intrinsic values as they get objectified ad commoditized. Cloning animals, according to this view, is treating animals as mere things, and not living, important beings. It shows that animals are considered products, like automobiles. In fact, from cloned animals given personal names when cloning was first done in the 1990s, a lot has changed, as those animals began to be given numbers and letters. This, to deontologists, is very dehumanizing and shows the extent to which humans are capable of objectifying animals. Ethical Concerns in Animal Cloning.
Although most scientists are proud on the steps they have made in animal cloning, there is a vast literature that shows that cloning leads to high miscarriage rates, early deaths, development of chronic diseases, stillbirths and abnormalities in those animals. Evidence shows that only a few embryos live upon conception, and if they live, they may develop heart and blood problems. Proponents of animal cloning, however, have argued that they have incorporated safer methods which have seen higher efficacy rates in the cloning process. While critics argue that cloning violates standards and principles, scientists see no harm. After all, they argue, that animals continue to be eaten as food, hunted by poachers, confined and even experimented on (Armstrong & Richard 2016). Proponents argue that the very same standards that govern humane treatments to apply in all aspects of life, and therefore, cloning, should not be judged as immoral and unacceptable. Ethical Concerns in Animal Cloning.
Advocates of animal cloning have argued that animal cloning can be done as a conservation measure to de-extinct certain extinct species, and prevent endangered species from being wiped out completely (Sandler 2014). This, to them, is a better way of ensuring that the ecosystem and natural environment is maintained. However, critics argue that cloning means that these exceptions should not tamper with their concern regarding the impact of animal biotechnology. As for human beings, ethically concerned people argue that the successful cloning of reproductive aspects of animals is likely to prompt similar techniques in human beings, which to them is even more alarming (Twine 2019). Another concern for most people is also about the safety of consuming cloned animal products like milk and meat.
Animal cloning provides a preserve for the few breeds of animals who are at a high chance of being extinct. Somehow this is beneficial because the cloned animal offspring provide a chance for life continuity. Some of the animals cloned are more resistant to diseases and infections; thus cloning might help to prolong the life of some animals. The world people are living in today faces numerous challenges which require scientific solutions. Some of these solutions are found in animal cloning where they provide a base for further research on how humans can deal with an issue such as diseases. Opposes and proponents of animal cloning agree that life is the most precious thing to all living organisms; thus human beings should take great care while performing cloning acts to animals. Ethical Concerns in Animal Cloning.
With these concerns continually being debated, it is up to policymakers to make decisions, which favor the public. Given the public opinion against the disapproval of both human and animal cloning, it can be concluded that this negative view is attributed to their deontological foundations or societal perception regarding the consequences of animal cloning. Neglecting these issues and ignoring public perspectives shall have implications, not just in the field of science, but also the agricultural and medical industries.
Armstrong, Susan J., and Richard G. Botzler, eds. The animal ethics reader. Taylor & Francis, 2016.
Center for Genetics and Society (n.d)”Animal and Pet Cloning Opinion Polls.” Welcome to CGS | Center for Genetics and Society. Accessed April 2, 2019. https://www.geneticsandsociety.org/internal-content/animal-and-pet-cloning-opinion-polls.
Fiester, Autumn. “Ethical issues in animal cloning.” Perspectives in Biology and Medicine 48, no. 3 (2005): 328-343.
Mill, John Stuart. “Utilitarianism.” In Seven masterpieces of philosophy, pp. 337-383. New York: Routledge, 2016.
Sandler, Ronald. “The ethics of reviving long-extinct species.” Conservation Biology 28, no. 2 (2014): 354-360.
Twine, Richard. Animals as biotechnology: ethics, sustainability, and critical animal studies. Routledge, 2010.