Pet cloning: how the rich are spending up to £38,000 for Rover, version 2.0 | cloning

Name: Pet cloning.

Age: 21.

Appearance: creepy.

creepy? That’s quite an aspersion to cast. It’s a cloned pet, for crying out loud. Of course it’s creepy. It’s like something out of a Charlie Kaufman movie.

Well, in that case, thank goodness that this is a fringe technology doomed to certain failure. Yeah, about that. Viagen Pets & Equine, a Texas-based company responsible for cloning pets, has reported that it is cloning “more and more pets each year”.

Isn’t that prohibitively expensive? For most people, yes. If you want Viagen to clone your cat, expect to pay almost $30,000 (£23,000). For a dog, it rises to £38,000. If you happen to need a clone of your horse, it’ll set you back £65,000. Plus, you know, whatever the moral cost of playing God happens to be these days.

Clearly this is not for everyone. No, that’s right. This procedure is designed to appeal to the wealthy, and perhaps that’s why it’s so easy to mock. Maybe if you could get your pets cloned for a fiver at Superdrug, everyone would do it.

Would you do it? Of course not, I’d adopt a shelter pet because I have a soul.

That isn’t fair. What would you do if your beloved pet suddenly died? I guess I’d pay over the odds to let science create an identical genetic copy of my dog, signaling to the world that I lack the fortitude to experience even a moment of bereavement.

I knew it! I’m just kidding. I’d bury my pet and sincerely grieve the loss of my companion, like a normal person would.

Goal Barbra Streisand cloned her pets. Streisand made two Meet the Fockers films. You absolutely shouldn’t use her as a bellwether for judgment.

People can do whatever they like with their money. Except that animal welfare organizations have claimed that cloned pets are more prone to disease, so it also seems like quite a crummy thing to do to the animal. And it isn’t even a complete copy.

What? Of course it isn’t. Cloning generally involves extracting a DNA sample and inserting it into a surrogate, but a huge part of the pet’s personality comes from its upbringing and environmental surroundings. You can’t predict what your new pet will be like, even if it has the same DNA as your last pet.

Yikes. Exactly. Imagine spending the average national salary on a dog that looks like your old dog, but then turns out to be a jerk. What would you do?

Clone myself and hope that Replica Me has the temperament to care for it. There you go, everything’s solved forever.

Do say: “My hamster died.”

Don’t say: “Let me introduce you to the concept of pet shops.”

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