Animal rights activists' view on dog cloning

Published on Friday, 11 April 2014 14:06
Written by Ali Dolloso

This week Channel 4 screened a controversial documentary, The £60,000 Puppy: Cloning Man's Best Friend, which followed a competition in which British dog owners vied for the chance to have their beloved pet dog cloned by South Korean scientists.

These scientists from Sooam Biotech Company who claim to have cloned over 500 dogs say that cloning is already popular in the USA and are hoping that the UK will want to know more about this controversial process. Sooam are calling it a social experiment and a marketing strategy to show the public that for just £60,000 you can get your pet replicated, so you never have to be without them.

In the UK, shockingly, there are currently no laws to prevent you having your pet cloned in this way, using the same technology as Dolly the famous cloned sheep – starting from a single cell. The Biotech firm displayed two very clean and preened Maltese Terriers, to show that the cloning really works, and then their reps set about travelling through UK to find a winner.

The subject of cloning pets, although legal in the UK, does raise many ethical questions, which have been a major talking point on British radio and talk shows recently as a result of the birth of Mini-Winnie, cloned by the Sooam Biotech Company for the competition winner, Rebecca Smith.

Julia de Cadenet, CEO of charity World Protection for Dogs and Cats in the Meat Trade and representative of the people led campaign NoToDogMeat believes that this paradox of a society, which keeps pets and has developed commercial cloning so that the beloved dog can be replicated, yet also has a cruel dog meat trade, is something that needs addressing. By ignoring to do so we are failing sentient beings that all have rights.

"Why are the South Koreans putting so much emphasis, time, money and attention onto cloning pet dogs, when they should be looking at their own society's inhumane treatment of dogs?

"How can one nation spend thousands cloning a pet and then drink a juice from another boiled alive for health benefits?"

In a centuries old practice, tens of thousands of unfortunate dogs in South Korea are still being tortured, because some believe the tortured meat will bring health benefits to the consumer. Cruelly, this includes being boiled alive, a heinous practice which goes unpunished. Some cats are also boiled alive; the belief being it will aid your arthritis.

World Protection for Dogs and Cats in the Meat Trade is a small UK charity set up to address this issue and provide dogs and cats who find themselves part of the human food chain a much needed voice.

Its campaigning arm NoToDogMeat raised over 1500 signatures overnight and delivered this petition to Channel 4 on Wednesday.

The petition made it clear that the documentary on cloning dogs is in poor taste and asked if they could make a documentary on the subject of tortured dog meat. Julia and her team would like to see documentary made in which South Koreans were asked why tortured meat was desired. She feels such a documentary could help to raise the issue onto the political agenda.

A peaceful protest outside Channel 4 headquarters was met with a friendly response from employees and passersby.

Click here to find out more about the work done of the World Protection for Dogs and Cats and its campaign NoToDogMeat

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