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Pets and PeopleThe Ethics of Companion Animals$
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Christine Overall

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780190456085

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190456085.001.0001

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“Lassie, Come Home!”

“Lassie, Come Home!”

Ethical Concerns about Companion Animal Cloning

Chapter:
(p.143) 10 “Lassie, Come Home!”
Source:
Pets and People
Author(s):

Jennifer Parks

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190456085.003.0010

While the practice of cloning companion animals is not widespread, it is nevertheless an option available to grieving humans who desperately miss their beloved companions. This chapter employs a care ethics framework to argue that pet cloning exploits the individual’s capacity for relationship and attachment, and wrongly characterizes the nature of these special relationships. The offer to clone a person’s companion animal suggests that such relationships are fungible: that feelings of love and deep commitment are easily transferred to a new and different (though supposedly identical) animal. The practice is morally problematic because it treats these relationships with particular others as though they are easily recreated, and it wrongly suggests that the loss associated with a pet’s death can be overcome by a simple act of replacement.

Keywords:   pet cloning, care ethics, companion animal, relationship, commodification

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