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Dog Cloning Equals Double Trouble as Woman Clones $50000 Pet

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One pet owner's doubling down for double the trouble: The New Yorker is kicking in $50,000 grand for a duplicate clone of her original dog. In fact she may want two if South Korea can deliver. But there's ire in the nation while others claim the surrogate mothers are being served--as a meal.
Despite any individual quirks or differences, pet owners have one thing in common: They love their pets. And losing a pet that dies is heartbreaking. Most pet owners would say they'd do anything to have their pets back again. The question is whether that 'anything' could include cloning.
It's been three years since Danielle Tarantola lost her 18-year-old dog "Trouble" that she got at age eighteen. She wants that dog back -- so she's doing the next best thing, paying $50,000 for a hoped duplicate. She readily admits to having been willing to pay $100,000. The reality is the former Wall Street woman may have been willing to pay even more. The realm of pet cloning appears to be a potentially fruitful industry. And, yes, it's creepy and it's kooky. The Addams Family ain't got nothing on this scenario that South Korea hopes to be our future.
There's a new puppy arriving to town: Apparently "Trouble II" just doesn't have the same ring as "Double Trouble". The new dog's a duplicate, literally, that's traveled all the way from South Korea to arrive to his new home in NYC. The puppy's an exact genetic replica of the original canine. And the new one's derived from a petri dish -- in a method where South Korean scientists hope is a rapidly-growing industry in dog cloning.
It's the kind of creepy that ignited controversy and debate a decade and a half ago in 1996, with the birth of "Dolly" the sheep in Scotland. Dolly was the world's first cloned mammal. The world's first cloned dog arrived less than ten years later in 2005, an Afghan hound from RNL Bio in Seoul. And just three short years have passed since the seemingly-unbelievable was announced as a general service for the public: A biotech company in South Korea boasted it was focused on pet clones, specifically dog cloning. South Korea is now shipping cloned pets. But not all of America is happy about it.
Despite a lack of publicity, there's been a lot of cloning going on since the breakthrough in '96. Clones of horse, deer and cattle have all been part of the mix and research process. But among the most controversial is that range of animals that falls much closer to home, or literally in the home -- pets like dogs and cats.
There's good reason that cloning efforts have largely been kept under wraps or at least out of the general media. It's far from a perfect science yet. There's lots of deformities that have occurred. It's also a hot topic in terms of ethics. And this most recent clone to hit headlines will pump up the volume -- not just because of expense.
Pet owners each have a definite connection with those most loved animals that literally become part of family. "Trouble" the dog was no different. The canine was the "son" of the family -- even appearing dressed in a tux to celebrate his owner's wedding. The loss of the dog was devastating. Like many, Tarantola says she loved the pet more than some people in her life. While no one can bring back the dead, Trouble's owner is set on bringing back what she believes is the next best thing -- an identical pet.
If the cloning process and capabilities in duplicating pets aren't weird enough, there seem to be some other strange things going on -- including unanswered questions. How canine surrogate mothers and animals are treated during the pregnancy process is one debate. But what happens to those animals after they've physically birthed the clone is another: While South Korea claims the surrogate mothers are well-treated, providing the presentation that those new moms are sent out to farms after their service -- where the animals supposedly live the remainder of their lives in peace -- other say uh-uh: There's accusations flying, and those involve new moms becoming dinner.
At about a hundred grand apiece, the cloning industry stands to be a very profitable one for the country. And right now South Korea's got a corner on the market: It's the only spot performing the science, process and service of duplicating peoples' pets through clones. But some argue that the reason pet cloning is limited to the country is because other countries, including the United States, simply wouldn't stand for a lack of ethics. But where there's money and demand, there will be supply.
For anyone who wants to argue the cloning industry can pump new money into the economy, it can -- just not into this nation's . Cash for cloned dogs is headed straight for South Korea, the only spot now operating pet cloning facilities offering services to consumers. The reason for location may well lie in animal treatment, or the possible habit of killing off the animals used to garner that cash.
The U.S. may not be cloning pets for sale on its soil, but it's not a nation short on entrepreneurship: Newer companies may only be raking in about 1/100th of the revenue South Korean companies gain from customers, but U.S. companies want a piece of that pie -- even if it's only the crust. They're betting pet cloning will literally become a new way of life in the near future. And until that new life, companies will proces and store pet's DNA for any future cloning use. They don't perform the work. They just keep all the stuff needed to make a 'new' pet. Costs for that part starts at over a grand for services, the first year. Then pet owners can look forward to around a hundred bucks per year in DNA storage fees, until deciding whether or not to kick down that hundred grand in the future for a full-blown (real) pet.
The DNA processing and storage services for animals is pretty much on par with the pre-paid services where atheists are slated to look after owners' pets come Judgment Day -- since the pets' regular owners won't be on earth to tackle the task themselves at that point. Basically, 'believers' can pay into contracts for those services -- services that may or may not be needed, or even be capable of being fulfilled. While mammal cloning continues in animal research and topics concerning extinction, pet cloning could see less of a future or none at all. One of those reasons may have to do with ethics. But in the meantime it's here. And it costs a fortune.
Pet cloning is expensive stuff. Less than three years ago, during infancy, the price tag was a $150,000 cost for cloned dogs from South Korea. Along with technology it seems prices have dropped. That doesn't make them cheap: The woman who worked on Wall Street negotiated for her dog Trouble's clone. And it seems the South Korean company was willing to broker a deal. It slashed half from the steep pricing, though nothing in life is free. The biotech cloning facility hopes for a huge boon, obviously, after its services will essentially be featured across the nation on January 11. It's less expensive than advertising and very, very targeted: Viewers will be tuning into TLC within days to see the story of Tarantola and her newest pets. It's hard to say what's strangest: A company that clones pets, the pet owners who insist on having previous pets cloned -- or the television channel betting on earnings from one bizarre scenario.
TLC plans to chronicle the journey of "Double Trouble" from petri dish to New York home, featuring the puppy's new owner on January 11 in a one-hour TCL show and teaser: "I Cloned My Pet". Expect that one to be short-lived, no pun intended. When the real truth about what happens to the surrogate mothers comes out, the show's sure to be the fastest-slated for cancellation in recent history. The TCL show apparently survived any potential cut after the puppy did, arriving to the world alive and breathing. Mammal clones don't always make it, and often don't. They frequently die, not surviving because of severe abnormalities or birth defects. The birth of "Double Trouble" was successful, watched live via Skype while more than one pup came to life. And even Anderson Cooper's getting in on dog clone talks in January.
But along with all the hooplah, others in the nation have serious trouble with the idea of Trouble's new double. To ensure the life of one, multiple clones of a pet may survive -- while there can be only one 'taker'. In an already overcrowded population based in a country known to eat dogs for meals, the fate of those 'extras' that are birthed tends to be unknown. And aside from additional births that may not have willing new owners at the ready, there's an additional problem: No one quite knows or can confirm what's happening to the surrogate mothers involved or used in cloning. Some have serious suspicions regarding whereabouts. Those suspicions don't shed the best light on South Korea.
Cloning facilities are known to routinely rent dogs from farmers for use in their labs, the females needed as mothers to birth the clones for pet owners. But when that process is over, logic says that so is the female dog's use. The accusation and ethical quandary is that dogs used as surrogates or egg donors are, well, used -- then sent back to the farms after birthing to be killed or eaten as a meal. If it sounds outlandish, it is. But the likelihood of it occurring is probably higher than the alternative, particularly when dogs in the country are specifically raised on farms for animal meat.
Tarantola can believe what she wants -- and certainly wouldn't want to believe that the animal who helped bring life to the pet, now replacing the dog she lost, will lose its life. The owner says she asked the cloning firm in South Korea about the specific surrogate slated to carry Double Trouble. Of course the question was raised when she paid. And, of course, the answer probably isn't going to be one that turns away fifty grand. Tarantola says she wouldn't want another dog sacrificed or its well-being harmed, even to get what she wants -- a clone of her own pet. But while it may not be what she would want, that doesn't mean it won't occur with other clients, if not with herself.
The cloning firm reportedly descirbed a "nice farm" where the surrogates are sent to live, but that marks the extent of 'details'. Others suspect that the same country that raises the animals for their meat is in fact sending animals used in cloning back to farms -- for exactly that purpose, of food. And perhaps on par with scariness of the concept in pet cloning and how unneeded animals are then treated is how many steps closer the process now places humans in the cycle of reproducing 'duplicates'.
If devastated pet owners are willing to spend a fortune or life's savings in garnering a replacement for their loved animals, it's not far-fetched to believe humans would be willing to pay virtually anything to add humans to that mix. The people we love, and lose, could theoretically be returned to this earth in a slightly newer body. If there's a perfect example it just may be puppy "Double Trouble" himself.
The clone to replace the original "Trouble" has already arrived to its new owner at her New York City home, shipped out to the country just weeks ago in December. The new puppy's owner Tarantola confirms "Double Trouble" seems to be the same -- in looks, personality and actions that mimic the original. She says it's like "having the same dog over again." Apparently she's looking forward to two of the "same dog over again": Another clone survived the cloning process in the creation of "Double Trouble," so there's yet another pup on its way to New York. The name? You guessed it. "Triple Trouble" it is.


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