Attempts at cloning wild cat species is immoral

Cloning wild cat species is immoral

The only reason why scientists at the Audubon Center for Research of Endangered Species (ACRES) are engaged in failed attempts at cloning small wild cat species (at the expense of the cats who are kept in cages etc.), is because people in general are basically killing off the wild cat species in the wild in one way or another and neither can they reproduce in zoos. It is simply about an unstoppable expansion of human activity that destroys everything else. Cloning isn’t the answer. Stopping the abuse and use of natural resources in an unsustainable way is. But we just can’t stop it. No one is even trying to stop it.

The specific reason why it is immoral to try and clone wild cat species is because even if this unnatural process is successful in years to come, where will the scientists put all the identical cats they have proudly created in the laboratory test tube? Back into the wild? There will be none left. Even if there were some habitat left, what would be the point? They’ll only be shot for their fur or trapped and killed for their body parts or they’ll starve to death because their prey has been shot or something like that.

The way humankind is headed at present, the only place to put cloned wild cats would be in zoo cages and what is the point of that? It is an admission of failure.

The scientists who are messing around with cloning, a process that is still very unrefined, are doing it for themselves. It is a job. There is obviously lots of money out there for it. Scientists cannot work in isolation like this. To make the research meaningful there has to be a coordinated program of research and effective conservation. That essentially means conservation of wild cat habitat. Loss of habitat is the single biggest killer of wild cats and it normally relates to trees. The forests are disappearing to make that nice furniture in the shops or even the bloody photocopying paper. To convert virgin forest to photocopying paper is sheer madness.

There is another reason why cloning wild cats or any animal is immoral. It is this. It is against the laws of common sense and nature to replicate an individual animal any number of times. It is ungodly and it won’t work. It is indecent. It is a last desperate act to try and preserve that which we are destroying. Cloning is another admission of failure. Former president Clinton dislikes it too, for what it is worth. He’s smart. The Vatican think cloning is a mortal sin by the way.

There is also a faint recognition by the scientists that with our current knowledge we will be unable to successfully clone animals for many years because they proudly state that they have created a frozen zoo. This is the deep frozen DNA of many animals stored in liquid nitrogen. It can remain stored for hundreds of years and brought out when every wild cat in the wild has perished. Then they can successfully clone the cats and stick them in glass cages for people to gawp at. At that time in the future, the wild cats would be freaks because they would have been extinct for donkey’s years.

And then they’ll have to top up the cages with freshly cloned cats because they are too stressed to mate and reproduce in cages. It is not a particularly edifying future for the wild cats is it?

Picture of Rusty-spotted cat by Joachim S. Müller

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Attempts at cloning wild cat species is immoral — 23 Comments

  1. Cloning uses processes that are totally natural. They simply place the genetic material into the ovum of a carrier and Mother Nature does the rest. There is no evil magic to this. It just sounds wrong to the ear. I am for cloning to revive animal populations. The people that neglect wild life are a problem, but some species lose the genetic material to continue without scientific help. To me it is no different than selective breeding.

    What do you think about using stem cells to treat arthritis in animals? They take stem cells from the animals bone marrow and treat it then inject it into the damaged tissue. With two days they animals are able to walk normally. Within ten they are running up stairs.

    Genetic science is a new thing and there are a lot of ethical considerations to work out. Fear of what could happen spurned on by radical organizations keen on depriving us of a better world.

    OK, I said it. It’s how I feel and I do respect your opinions Michael. I think education is the key to understanding things like this. For instance, Genetically Modified Food is terrifying to me after reading about the possible disastrous results. Yet with stem cells, I now think that all but embryonic stem cells are more than acceptable. Especially if the source of the stem cell is from the patient. I have been very skeptical of stem cell research up until now because of the media demonizing them. Now I know the truth.

    • I totally appreciate and respect your opinion and thanks for commenting. I can only write about my views. I agree that the process of cloning is sort of natural. It is not totally natural because nature never did it. It does not happen in nature. In fact the whole process of evolution comes about because of the opposite process of cloning: small variations in newborns proving to be more efficient for survival. That is how humans were created over millions of years. If cloning was around a billion years ago we’d all be amoebas living in the water ;). There would be no humans etc.

      Also it is unnatural from the point of view of it’s strategic failure. What I mean is cloning wild cat species will not solve anything. As I wrote, it is proves to be successful, we’ll just end up with identical sand cats or black-footed cats in cages in zoos that will have to be replaced every 10 years when they die. It will be a bit like restocking the shelves of a supermarket. Is that what we want? Is that success and useful?

      It would be far better is we fixed the problem at source: less people, more land for other species and respect for all creatures and that includes towards each other.

      • Even cloning does not produce identical creatures. DNA mutates (both at the early stage and in localised tissue mutations later on). DNA is expressed differently as the environment causes different genes to be switched on or off (epigenetics). Were it not for DNA mutations during asexual reproduction many millions of years ago, single-celled organisms would not ultimately have given rise to vertebrates.

        When a cell divides asexually to form daughter cells, it is a form of cloning (your body cells are generating clones of themselves all the time!). When a virus takes over a cell and causes the cell machinery to create more virus cells, it is a form of cloning (in this case RNA injecting itself into a host cell). Nature got there long before humans did.

        There are lizard species that reproduce asexually, birthing clones of themselves and relying on DNA mutation to generate natural variation. Natural cloning is one of evolution’s ways of dealing with situations where males are absent (natural gender switching, as found in some fish, is another method).

        I can’t comment on the morality, but I can assure you that cloning can occur in multi-cellular species without human intervention 🙂

        • Thanks Sarah. Very interesting. I did read that someone tried to clone a calico or tortie cat and the coat turned out not to be calico.

          I don’t think it will work and I don’t think we can replicate the natural mutations that made us over millennia.

          I have this gut feel that we cannot replicate exactly what nature does and we can we’ll screw up.

          That may be a reactionary idea. I don’t know.

          The morality issue is based on the fact that cloning wild cats circumvents the real problem: allowing the cats to live in the wild. It actually exacerbates it because it presents an easy solution which therefore gives humankind permission to go on killing the cats.

            • Thanks Sarah. I presume cloning is intended to create a perfect copy. It can’t be to try and create a copy with the odd mutation. So cloning is not natural in terms of evolution. It is natural in respect of the division of cells as an animal grows. That is a reason why I think it is bound to fail with our current knowledge. In 1000 years it might be different but by then cloning wild cats won’t have much meaning.

              • Cloning is intended to create a genetically identical copy of the selected cell, but scientists understand that how genes are expressed is influenced during embryo development, and that the selected cell may not represent the whole animal that it is taken from (as in CC’s case).

                There’s a bit of an understanding mismatch between the layman’s perception of cloning (sci-fi stuff) and how science sees cloning (acknowledging that it will never be 100% identical to the donor animal).

        • The extra maternal material is the mitochondrial DNA which is separate from the nucleus DNA. Mitochondrial DNA is only passed down through the female line and it is also prone to adverse mutations!

  2. I hope i am wrong for predicting that the future of most of the “Big Wild-Life” would be in zoological parks around the World as most large forests would be unsuitable for wild animals.Humans would come in direct confrontation with “Wild Animals” especially large carnivores and herbivores due to forest degradation and human population explosion. This is most evident in my own Country India and i hope it reverses in the future..

    • Like you I am pessimistic, very pessimistic about the future of the wild cat species. Nothing significant is happening to improve the situation for the wild cats. In fact cloning wild cats is preparation for the future when the wild cats will be extinct in the wild and the cats in zoos fail to reproduce due to inbreeding. Then we will have to resort to clones. As I stated, for me, cloning is an admission today that the future is bleak for the wild cats in the wild and in captivity.

  3. I think there is a limit as to how much you can meddle with our ecosystem. Whether it be a natural process or not which leads to a new creation, we don’t know what this will do to our ecosystem. We created uranium which can’t ever the gotten rid of. We have added things we shouldn’t have to this ecosystem and every little thing has its place so when you mess with it you send it potentially in a totally different direction.

    Based on this I feel nervous about such things as cloning although I can’t say I know enough about it. Imagine for example the clones are biologically different in somer small way – perhaps stronger, so the clones take over the original ones.

    Just look at Australia – when it comes to adding things to an ecosystem it’s a scary example. Cloned animals may be no different and totally real and natural but what do we really know – what unforseen effect will this have on the whole planet in say 100 years? We don’t know. What we do know is that it WILL have some kind of effect. That’s all.

  4. To put it simply I think it’s wrong to mess with Nature, humans have gone too far already in destroying many species of animals and this world will never be the way it was meant to be as long as the selfish human race think it’s for us alone.
    How many animals suffer and die in cloning experiments? We can be sure that number will be well hidden.
    A better idea would be to make all the inhumane humans extinct and clone the humane humans of the world so we have no selfish, greedy, power hungry, abusers and murderers who think the whole world belongs to them and that animals are ours to do with as we please.

  5. I will go as far as to say that cloning may be the only answer to saving some dying species, as bizarre as it is.
    It just never should have gotten this far. Humankind can’t seem to keep their hands out of nature and the order. We get in there, mess it all up, and, then, try to fix it half-arsed (Is that the right term?).
    We have nearly destroyed this planet and, in turn, its inhabitants.

    • The sin would be to introduce some foreign piece of DNA into a creature. It would probably be done by virus and there is some chance that it will not go to the desired area on the genome. If it goes to the wrong place it could cause cancer or some strange mutation. All creatures share so much DNA, who knows what will pop up or disappear!

      • Nature seems to be doing this all the time. A lot of our own DNA content may have come from viral or bacterial DNA that got incorporated into the genome 🙂

  6. Hunting and habitat-loss has nothing to do with the extinction of the Scottish Wildcat.

    guardian.co D0T uk SLASH environment/2012/sep/16/scottish-wildcat-extinction

    “A report, produced by the Scottish Wildcat Association, reviewed 2,000 records of camera trap recordings, eyewitness reports and road kills, and concluded there may be only about 40 wildcats left in Scotland in the wild today. ‘However you juggle the figures, it is hard to find anything positive,’ says Steve Piper, the association’s chairman. ‘The overwhelming evidence is that the wildcat is going to be extinct within months.'” … “However, it is not the loss of habitat that is causing the current cat crisis in the Cairngorms. It is the spread of the domestic cat.” … “‘Essentially the Highland wildcat is being eradicated by an alien invasive species: the domestic cat.'”

    (note: this was quoted from a report over a year ago, they’re probably already extinct in the wild)

    You are also killing off all your inland River Otters in England with your cats’ parasites.

    wildlifeextra D0T com SLASH go/news/otter-toxoplasmosis.html

    As well as all house-cat “animal lovers” are now killing off all Big Cats in all wildlife reserves around the world.

    thenational D0T ae SLASH news/uae-news/big-cat-owners-warned-to-keep-them-acres-away-from-feral-strays

    As well as your cats’ parasites killing off all rare and endangered marine mammals on all coastlines around the world (worse than any oil-spill that has ever existed or could even be imagined).

    msnbc.msn D0T com SLASH id/43159544/ns/technology_and_science-science/t/lethal-parasites-team-kill-dolphins-seals/

    But now these (house-cats ONLY) “animal lovers” are also killing off all the Mountain Lions (Cougars, Puma, Endangered Florida Panther, etc.), and all other native cat species in the USA.

    rapidcityjournal D0T com SLASH sports/local/feral-cats-pose-threat-to-birds-lions/article_8ec451c9-4b03-55a3-baa7-71ac577905cb.html

    There will come a time when you can no longer blame anyone else but yourselves. That time should have been over two decades ago but some people are VERY slow and would rather live in a world of blissful denial.

    • I know it is the house cat and stray cat that is breeding with the wildcat. I have said that in all my articles and in my comment on this page.. However, you are wrong when you say…

      Hunting and habitat-loss has nothing to do with the extinction of the Scottish Wildcat.

      …because the initial reason why the population of the wildcat became so precarious in the first place is because it was consistently hunted over hundreds of years throughout England. It moved to places that were inaccessible in deserted Scotland much like the tiger has moved to the Himalayas to escape persecution by humans.

      You also say that marine mammals are being killed by cat parasites. You grossly oversimplify as you love to express you hatred for the cat. The truth is that “many” of 5,000 dead marine mammals suffered from brain swelling in the Pacific Northwest.

      It is believed that the cause was people flushing cat litter down the toilet and the feces that contained the T. gondii parasite (and not all cat feces do) combined with another parasite Sarcocyctis neurona foud in the feces of Virginia opossums.

      So the truth is that you need opossums and people to make this transmission work. It is not solely about the cat but also about people and how they care for their cats and other animals. It is far more complicated than you state.

      How many dolphins are killed or their immune systems are weakened by the indiscriminate dumping of toxic man-made chemicals and waste into the oceans or from run off from farm land? Many, many more.

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