Instigator / Pro

Animal cloning


The debate is finished. The distribution of the voting points and the winner are presented below.

Winner & statistics
Better arguments
Better sources
Better legibility
Better conduct

After 6 votes and with 39 points ahead, the winner is...

Publication date
Last updated date
Number of rounds
Time for argument
Two days
Max argument characters
Voting period
One week
Point system
Multiple criterions
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Contender / Con

No information

Round 1
Instigator forfeited R1 and hasn't been online for a few days.  We'll give it another round to see if anything is forthcoming.
Round 2
Still no argument from PRO.
Round 3
Thanks, andrew153.

We never learned from PRO whether this debate was meant to include or exclude humans as a viable subject of cloning (humans being a member of the animal kingdom).  CON is assuming that human cloning was not under discussion since that science's capacity for such an achievement is only just become realistic now.

Although CON does not oppose some limited and well regulated cloning of animal species as part of our investigation into potential therapeutic and species salvation projects, CON opposes commercial, mass cloning  projects for food production, improved sport, or even medical purposes until the state of the science is more stable and less likely to cause massive amounts of suffering for most of the subject animals relative to minimal successful clones.

"Perhaps the most compelling argument against animal cloning is the very real suffering endured by animals involved in this science. There are four areas of
concern with regard to the pain and suffering animals experience due to animal cloning:

  • the suffering animals undergo during cloning procedures;
  • the obstetrical complications that occur in the surrogate animal;
  • the health of cloned animals; and
  • the suffering animals will be forced to endure if cloned to exhibit, for research purposes, or for certain diseases and pathologies.
Recent data on the success rates of cloning procedures and the health and survival statistics of animal clones present a fairly grim picture.  There is a large body
of literature citing high rates of

  • miscarriage,
  • stillbirth,
  • early death,
  • genetic abnormalities, and
  • chronic diseases among cloned animals.
These problems occur against a backdrop of what in cloning science has been called “efficiency,” theterm used to talk about the percentage of live offspring from the number of transferred embryos.The efficiency of animal cloning has typically been about 1 to 2%, so for every 100 embryos that are implanted in surrogate animals, about 98 of the embryos fail to produce a live animal offspring.  Even when efficiency rates are at their best, the overwhelming majority of attempts fail. One study explicitly touting a “highly efficient” method for cloning pigs claims efficiency rates of only 5 to 12%.  This is still a failure rate of between 88 and 95%.

These numbers have serious consequences for both the donor and surrogate being impregnated: surgery must be used to remove the donor animal’s eggs and then another surgical technique used to implant the embryos into the surrogate. In the least “efficient” processes, for every one or two live cloned offspring, 100 eggs must be harvested and 100 embryos implanted. For unknown reasons, cloned fetuses often exhibit a high birthweight, frequently necessitating a C-section delivery, again causing pain and suffering to the surrogate animal.

Of the live clones born, many experience compromised health status or early death. In one study of cloned pigs, researchers reported a 50% mortality rate for
the live offspring, with five out of 10 dying between three and 130 days of age from ailments including chronic diarrhea, congestive heart failure, and decreased growth rate. In some studies, cloned mice experienced early death due to liver failure and lung problems. In others, they had a high tendency to develop morbid obesity."

This is not meant to serve as full-fledged retort to any potential argument from PRO.  Rather, this argument should be seen as a minimal effort expressed to demonstrate superior effort in light of PRO's forfeitures.

Let's see if there is any reply in R4.

Round 4
Extend all arguments to R5.  While we wait, here is one of my favorite poems on the subject of sheep reproduction.

The Sheep Child

Farm boys wild to couple
With anything      with soft-wooded trees   
With mounds of earth      mounds   
Of pinestraw      will keep themselves off   
Animals by legends of their own:   
In the hay-tunnel dark
And dung of barns, they will   
Say    I have heard tell

That in a museum in Atlanta   
Way back in a corner somewhere   
There’s this thing that’s only half   
Sheep      like a woolly baby
Pickled in alcohol      because   
Those things can’t live.      his eyes
Are open      but you can’t stand to look   
I heard from somebody who ...

But this is now almost all   
Gone. The boys have taken   
Their own true wives in the city,
The sheep are safe in the west hill
Pasture      but we who were born there
Still are not sure. Are we,
Because we remember, remembered
In the terrible dust of museums?

Merely with his eyes, the sheep-child may   

Be saying      saying

         I am here, in my father’s house.
         I who am half of your world, came deeply
         To my mother in the long grass
         Of the west pasture, where she stood like moonlight
         Listening for foxes. It was something like love
         From another world that seized her
         From behind, and she gave, not lifting her head   
         Out of dew, without ever looking, her best
         Self to that great need. Turned loose, she dipped her face   
         Farther into the chill of the earth, and in a sound   
         Of sobbing      of something stumbling
         Away, began, as she must do,
         To carry me. I woke, dying,

         In the summer sun of the hillside, with my eyes
         Far more than human. I saw for a blazing moment   
         The great grassy world from both sides,
         Man and beast in the round of their need,
         And the hill wind stirred in my wool,
         My hoof and my hand clasped each other,
         I ate my one meal
         Of milk, and died
         Staring. From dark grass I came straight
         To my father’s house, whose dust
         Whirls up in the halls for no reason
         When no one comes      piling deep in a hellish mild corner,   
         And, through my immortal waters,
         I meet the sun’s grains eye
         To eye, and they fail at my closet of glass.
         Dead, I am most surely living
         In the minds of farm boys: I am he who drives
         Them like wolves from the hound bitch and calf
         And from the chaste ewe in the wind.
         They go into woods      into bean fields      they go
         Deep into their known right hands. Dreaming of me,   
         They groan      they wait      they suffer
         Themselves, they marry, they raise their kind.

-James Dickey

Round 5
Full Forfeit.  Instigator hasn't been on site in 15 days.  
Thanks in advance for the voters' kind consideration.  

Let's end with some thoughts on the subject from one of my all-time favorite thinkers.

"You know, we can talk sometimes about managing our own evolution. About cloning people. About deciding how with genetic engineering we're going to improve ourselves. But how do we improve ourselves? We don't know. We've improved domestic animals a great way. We've got cows that give milk by the hundreds of gallons. We've got sheep that are wool...all the way through.

We've got turkeys that are all breast.

And horses that can run like the wind.

But you see, these things are all things that please us. We don't have to ask them what pleases them! But when it comes to human beings, when we're going to change ourselves, we have to ask what pleases us!

And we don't really know.

Now I suppose lots of people are going to... Supposing you could arrange everybody so that they all have certain characteristics. What would you want them to have? So...we want everyone should be geniuses. Well, I've got some personal knowledge of geniuses, and let me tell you one in a long while is all you can stand.

I mean, I personally don't want anyone around me who's a genius; I can just barely stand myself.

Or we want everyone who's sort of a deep thinker, everyone who's sort of sensitive, and kind, and humane...naah! Any race, any set of human beings that are all alike are not only dull, but useless, really.

I was asked a few days ago...really was, I'm not making this up...whether I didn't think an intellectual elite ought to run the world. And I said, by an intellectual elite, you mean people like me? Because I didn't know what he meant by an intellectual elite. I thought maybe it might mean people like him, in which case no!

And he said: "Yes, people like you". And I said no, that would be no good because I'm only smart in certain ways, and very stupid in other ways. And if everybody was like me, and we were running the world, we'd all be smart in the same way, and all be stupid in the same way, and it's the stupidness that's going to kill us. I said, what we need are people of all kinds running the world! Some of whom are smart in one way, and some of whom are smart in the other way, and with everyone's smartness in different directions, so that they can sort of cancel out; so that everybody's stupidity can be caught by someone else's smartness in the same direction.

In the same way, that's what we want. The greatest...the greatest gift that mankind has is it's vast gene pool. All the different genes it has. All the different characteristics; the smart and the stupid, the strong and the weak. Because it's the variety that makes it possible for us to meet different emergencies, and what is weak under one set of conditions might be strong under another, what is stupid at one time is smart at another, and so on. We can't throw out anything for fear that that's exactly what we'll need someday."

-From a lecture by Issac Asimov, "The Future of Humanity"