Sooam: A game of clones

The two dogs cloned at Sooam Biotech
The two dogs cloned at Sooam Biotech

There are times I’m sure we’ve all wished we could be in two places at once. Well, you can’t, so stop daydreaming and do your work. However, if you happen to have sixty thousand pounds and an unhealthy attraction to one particular pet, then you could always have two of those instead. Sooam biotech, the South Korean research foundation has now perfected the science of cloning dogs and I for one am completely lost as to why. According to their website “Sooam not only perform dog cloning research, but we also heal the broken hearts.

This seems like a perfectly reasonable excuse to push forward in cloning research. I have two dogs myself and, although they’re very annoying now, I’m sure I’ll be very upset when they die. I doubt however that, even in five or so years, I’ll have £126,000 to throw around so I’ll probably have to live with it. But wait, Sooam have once again come to the rescue. Opening up a competition to have your dog cloned for free! Is it too good to be true? The competition has already been won, and the cloning was a success, so yes it is, at least for me.

The dog in question, Winnie, now has an oddly similar friend, hilariously called mini-Winnie. This is a far cry from our earliest attempts at cloning, when Dolly the sheep was cloned at the Roslin institute in Edinburgh in 1996, as dogs are considered one of the most difficult animals to clone. Needless to say Sooam are very proud of themselves and no doubt set up the competition to showcase their almighty scientific ability and big brains.

The foundation has come under criticism, though, some claiming that the practice is unethical and that it could lead to animal rights abuses. These claims seem largely unfounded, however, and with this kind of exposure it would be difficult for Sooam to hide any wrongdoings. The other criticisms levelled at them include the obvious fact that this procedure costs an outrageous amount of money, which could be put towards numerous better causes.

There is also a distinct smell of capitalism about this whole affair. If Sooam were being honest their advising should read “Can’t face up to real life? Pay us to make your emotional problems go away”. In my opinion if you can’t cope with the loss of a pet you probably shouldn’t get one.

I have no problems with the idea of dog cloning, if the procedure was used to clone, say, talented guide dogs or search and rescue dogs. Pet cloning on the other hand is a dangerous road to walk down. Sooam, you may think that you can fix broken hearts by throwing money around but I beg to differ. You’re just going to create a whole generation of spoilt children who think they can buy their way out of any problem that comes along.