Each day thousands of lives are threatened and sometimes lost from food-borne illnesses, or waiting for organ donations. It is reported by the Center for Disease Control that each year there are approximately 76 million cases of people infected with food-borne illnesses. (“Food-borne Illnesses”, 1) Another source, The Gift of Life Foundation, indicates that over eighty thousand patients are currently on waiting lists for transplants. (“Organ Donor Awareness”, 1) Which makes me wonder why anyone would protest or question animal cloning as a viable solutions to these problems.
First of all, of the thousands of men, women and children on waiting lists, only twenty two thousand people received organ donations. From the remaining fifty eight thousand, six thousand died and the rest are still waiting for a life saving organ. (“Organ Donor Awareness”, 1) The solution for organ shortages lies in the continuation of research of using animal organs in human transplant patients. One goal of the Human Genome Project researchers is to reproduce organs suitable and compatible for humans. This occurs by genetically altering organs created from single cells and adding human proteins. “Cloning Fact Sheet”, 2) Without this research, we will never know how many lives could have been saved. Secondly, another benefit of animal cloning would be improving the quality of the food we eat. As I stated earlier, many people have suffered from food-borne illnesses, some leading to death. The cause of these illnesses are bacteria’s found in many meats. The bacteria’s result from improper slaughtering, handling of meats, and undercooked meat. Many of the illnesses are left untreated, because people pass the symptoms off as the flu or minor indigestion.
One bacterium in particular, Campylobacter, often found in chicken, can lead to a severe neurological disease called Guillain Barre Syndrome. (“Food-borne Illnesses”, 2) With animal cloning, animals will be raised and processed in a well-controlled and more sanitary environment. Although the United States Department of Agricultures Food Safety and Inspection Service conducts testing of meat processing plants, the rising number of recalls of contaminated meat reveal that their techniques are lacking. This leaves little confidence that we are buying and consuming a clean product.
Some people may say that animal cloning is wrong. As a result, many people are protesting the use of cloning for many reasons. Because of the “untested waters” that still remain, many people are fearful of what the outcome will produce. Therefore, they want to prevent the research for continuing. Over the past couple years I have read newspaper articles and had conversations with several people about cloning. Some of the reasons for protest are beliefs that it is not humane to create and kill animals for any purpose. For this I argue that we have been creating, killing and using animals for centuries to benefit humans.
They have clothed us and fed us; provided us with transportation and have even been used for our entertainment in sports such as the Polo. Religious individuals argue that cloning is tampering with God’s creations. However, it was the same God that gave man the will to survive and the intelligence to find new avenues to achieve this. Others claim that it will lead to human cloning. Although I agree that human cloning is going too far, that comes down to a regulatory issue on what can be cloned, and should not prevent all types of cloning. Personally I love animals.
I have owned pets my entire life, and they have all come as a result of some type of rescue. However, I feel that if it comes down to saving humans, it is human instinct to do what we can to improve the quality of human life. If I were approached with the choice of creating an animal to produce a lifesaving organ or letting the individual die, I would create the animal. I feel the same about the food I consume. In the past, I have worked in a pig processing plant, and I know first hand that the environment is not clean enough, and not all abscesses in the meat are discarded. I have always believed there had to be a better way.
I also believe that a lot of the health problems with humans are partially caused by the poor quality of food consumed each day. As quoted by Peter Marshall, “Let us not be content to wait and see what will happen, but give us the determination to make the right things happen. ” If the research is stopped we will never know what could have been. There is no magic crystal ball that can show us the result. To complete the research is a great leap of faith, yet I think if it’s succesful it will provide great benefits. To turn our back on the possibility to maintain and improve life would go against our nature.