BioArts Pet Cloning Company to Discontinue Cloning Services
We first reported on BioArts when Trakr, a heroic 9/11 search and rescue dog, was cloned after his owner won BioArts' Best Friends Again contest. Since then, however, several problems have become apparent, which CEO Lou Hawthorne outlined in a company press release.
Hawthorne reveals that the pet cloning market is even tinier and more specialized than he assumed. Although he spent over 10 years studying animal cloning and knew the subject was controversial, he was surprised at the number of people who refused to clone a pet even if the price was zero. With demand so low, it was impossible for BioArts to keep prices low enough for people to even consider having their beloved cloned.
A larger problem is the unlicensed competition. Though BioArts possesses a license to clone dogs (which they hoped would protect their technology), it's proven to be largely pointless, as other companies, notably RNL Bio, plan to offer the same cloning services at a discounted price and without paying the license. The company that holds BioArts' license has yet to go after unlicensed cloners, leading to a relatively free cloning market.
This brings up another issue -- ethics.
According to Hawthorne's statement, "[T]here is no technical way that RNL can deliver clones for $30,000 (an 80 percent price cut) unless they completely abandon all bioethical safeguards for surrogate mothers who carry the clones to term."
Concern for the surrogates is just one side of this sad story as there's also concern over what is done with the clones with physical anomalies that make them "undeliverable."
Hawthorne listed some of these anomalies in his statement (skip over this if you're squeamish and continue after the jump):