Duck Soup: Send in the Clones

We frequently hear that people look like their pets or act like their pets. Portly Winston Churchill had a bulldog, long eared Lyndon Johnson favored beagles. Cartoonists and charicaturists often play with such observations, presenting lanky, long locked men with companion Afghan hounds, and frizzily coifed, lacquered, primped and plucked women with similarly beautified poodles. In a more general way folks often label themselves as a cat-person or a dog-person.That was then. Science marches on.The fun loving vivisectionists in Scotland who presented the world with Dolly the first cloned mammal some months ago haven't been resting on their scalpels. Oh no. Now we learn that they have managed to staple a few human genes into their deoxyribonucleic string, and have produced a sheep carrying little pieces of person inside it's chromosomal code. What will they think of next?Obviously it will be a wee poochums that looks just like momsy-womsy or daddy-paddy. And red headed little kittens with freckles just like the cute little daughter who donated her cells to the friendly doctor at Pets-R-Us. The possibilities for more complex mixture are endless. There can be a porpoise-you who swims the oceans, an eagle-you circling high overhead, an equine-you frolicking in a pasture and a fly-on-the-wall-you listening to private conversations. Imagine how easy it would be to paper-train yourself, or teach yourself not to jump up on company! When little poochums-you cocks his head at the gramaphone he will actually understand his master's voice! When trans-kingdom cloning hits the labs, virtual immortality could be in sight. Sequoia-you may live three thousand years. Palo verde-you might spread across the desert forever. Kudzu-you will conquer the world! Being the apple of someone's eye could have literal meaning, and a peaches and cream complexion may be the simple result of a genetic splice. There's more! This will solve one of the great looming problems of cloning, who is the original and who is merely Memorex? Serious worriers have long labored under fears that a world full of genetic carbon copies will be an ethical nightmare. Congress may even ban human clone experiments. But, Pets-R-Us may be the light at the end of the CAT-scan tunnel. If you have yourself cloned, the worriers say, what will prevent you from using your alter-egos in nasty ways? As slaves, for example. "No, Your Honor, I was not whipping farm workers, I was just pushing myself a little harder than usual."Or in criminal pursuits? "Yes those look like my bloody fingerprints on the Bronco, Your Honor, but I swear it was a clone." Or in medical tests? "No, Your Honor, I did not use humans in deadly medical research without informed consent. I was testing the new drug on myself." Pets-R-Us is the answer!If we simply require that every human clone contain at least a few genes from some other specie we will permanently differentiate between the original and the copy. Moreover, it will become perfectly ethical to do what we wish with the resulting humanoids. After all, they are really only beasts when you get right down to their chromosomes.We can beat them, shock them, poison them, send them into radioactive or hazardous waste sites ... heck, we can even eat them! Sure some folks will get squeamish about opposable thumbs at the meat counter, but once it is explained that these are, in fact, animal parts, well, sticky fingers are bound to replace chicken fingers at sports bars around the world. Farmers take note: there are only two chicken fingers per chicken making the new clones a five-to-one improvement.Better still, before slaughter humanoids can be usefully employed for data entry or phone solicitation instead of loafing around in a pasture turning grass into hamburger. To top it off, hog producers tired of endless legal hassles concerning rivers killed by blown-out sewage ponds will jump for meat animals morphically adapted to flush plumbing. Dip 'em in hot sauce and grab an ice cold beer. Why, yes indeedy, them Buffalo thumbs will really be finger-lickin' good.


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