Reviving Extinct Species, What’s the Cost?

By Nicholas

Have you ever wanted to ride a Wooly Mammoth? With the advances in cloning technology, scientists believe that they will be able to clone extinct animals in a few years to a decade. They would impregnate close relatives of the extinct animal making a cross breed of the two species. Bringing back extinct animals is both threatening to our ecosystem and cruel towards animals, so we should not use funding to research it.

Cloning extinct animals poses a threat to our ecosystem because we don't know what their effect on it would be. The reason that many animals went extinct if humans didn’t kill them was because they couldn’t adapt to the environment effectively, or because some other species killed them. Even scientist Hank Greely, an expert in cloning technology, agreed that “They could turn out to be pests in this new environment,” because many  of them have been dead for hundreds of years. Because of their unknown effects on the environment, these animals would be held under lock and key while being continually tested.

Attempting to clone extinct animals causes much pain to both the surrogate mothers who are supposed to give birth to the clones of the extinct species, and to the clones themselves. If we released the clones into the world it could cause many problems, but it is also cruel to make the clone spend its whole life being studied under lock and key. In an attempt to clone the Bucardo, an animal that went extinct in 2000, researchers tried to impregnate 57 different animals, but only 7 were impregnated. Of the 7 that got pregnant 6 had miscarriages, and 1 gave birth to a mix of its species and the extinct species which suffocated within 10 minutes of its birth because of an extra, large lobe that it had grown in its lung. Why keep on researching something that makes animals suffer and not spend time and money on other things?

Attempting to clone animals requires rigorous testing and lots of funding that we could be pointing towards climate change or finding and protecting new species of animals. We don't even have the guarantee that the animals would be the same as they were before they became extinct. In fact, they would be a crossbreed of the extinct animal and the first surrogate mother’s species. John Wiens asked, “Why invest millions of dollars in bringing a handful of species back from the dead, when there are millions still waiting to be discovered, described, and protected?” Many other scientists such as Glenn Albrecht believe that it is also “futile and a gross waste of money,” leading me to believe that though there are many scientists who think that bringing back extinct animals is a good idea, there are many that believe it is a horrible idea.

Scientists who believe that cloning animals is a good idea mostly just believe the same thing that Greely does: that “it’s really cool.” They think that it would be interesting to be able to see some type of long-extinct animal without considering all the suffering that they are making animals feel because they think it’s “cool”. The argument that scientists should be able to do it because “it’s really cool” is a mockery of non-human life. Humans are not the only living things; other animals have lives too.

We have no idea what effects extinct animals would have on the ecosystem and cloning is like torture for animals, so we should not invest millions of dollars of funding into the invention of it. Maybe one day cloning will be viable and cruelty free, but until that day we should not bring any type of animal back to life and instead focus on keeping the ones we have alive.

Sources:

National Geographic

 

 

Stanford