The Case of the Cloned Cats

Genetic Savings and Clone, Inc., is a private company that describes itself as "the world's leader in the cloning of exceptional pets."  Genetic Savings and Clone (GSC) funded research at Texas A&M University that led to the 2002 birth of the world's first cloned cat, a healthy kitten named CC (as in "CopyCat").  GSC is now offering cat cloning services to the public on a limited basis.  In May 2004, GSC plans to begin cloning nine cats, with the resulting kittens delivered to their clients by November 2004.  (Three of the cats to be cloned belong to GSC employees.)

Some people think this is a great service to offer, while others are not so sure.  What do you think?  Here are some questions to think about, and some more information to help you decide your own opinion about cat cloning:

1. What would you need to do in order to get your cat cloned?  How much does it cost?  Why is it so expensive?
2. Why do some people want to clone their cats?  Are some reasons for cloning cats better than others?  Why or why not?
3. How does cloning work?
4. Why doesn't CC look like her genetic donor, Rainbow? 
Play "Find the Clone"!]
5. Can cloning cats help people or animals in any way?  If so, how?  Are these benefits expected from commercial cat cloning?
6. Can cloning cats harm people or animals in any way?  If so, how?
7. Why do some people think that commercial cat cloning is unethical?  What do you think of their arguments?
8. What responses can you think of to claims that cat cloning is unethical?  Are these responses convincing?  Why or why not?
9. In your own opinion, is it ethical to clone cats?  Why or why not?

Here are some links to further information to help you answer these questions:
For teachers:
Case study as PDF