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Monday, September 21, 2009

Cloning Dogs: What Do You Think?

by Carrie Boyko
(c) courtesy Dancing Poodle on
A recent contest to choose a well-qualified dog to clone, was won by a Canadian trainer/handler of a search and rescue dog. Clearly, this dog had scenting talents beyond the average canine, as he was the most successful dog at finding humans in the 9/11 episodes. His 5 cloned puppies have now been awarded to his owner/handler/trainer, who is thrilled to have 5 puppies that he believes will likely have the talents, drive and temperament of their father. Time will tell.

Differing opinions on the pros and cons of cloning not withstanding, I still find it a bit over-kill for a contest to be held for the "best" dog to be cloned. It seems to me that this promotion commercializes the process, and this is not something I feel comfortable with--at least not yet.

By anyone else's standards, many other dogs could have been equally qualified. For instance, the winner of Best in Show at Westminster could clearly have been a useful clone in continuing a strong show line with perfect conformance characteristics. Yet, in agility, a national champion Border Collie might have easily been viewed as the most driven, focused and fast dog on the planet, thereby making him the clear winner. Who is to say what dog is the best? A contest seems to make the decision subjective, and completely in the hands of the judges. What are their priorities?

While I understand that search and rescue dogs have jobs that far outweigh those of dogs in sporting activities, I can only condone this contest if it were private funds that supported it. In this instance, an individual interested in continuing a line of dogs that can be quickly and effectively trained to locate buried victims, could possibly have my vote, even though the idea still doesn't sit right in my stomach.

I suppose, for me, it comes down to purpose. Was this money and this clone done for a noble reason or simply a scientific experiment? I'll withold judgment on this and ask your opinions. The COMMENT link below this post is gray, located in the white box at the very end. Please let me know your thoughts. I'd like to get a consensus here. I find this topic fascinating, while also baffling. What are your thoughts?


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