Firstly, there would be less genetic diversity among dogs. The dogs that had the most desirable traits would dominate the population, while those with less desirable (more aptly put, “less popular”) traits would be fewer in number or no longer exist; perhaps, except for their genetic code in a database or genetic material to sample in case future demand necessitates its reintroduction. If all dogs were clones, the population would be easier to manage, because it would theoretically be possible to know how many are on the market, and of what kind.
Animal overpopulation could also be solved, but that in turn, becomes an economics issue: instead, for the issue of surplus, envisage a warehouse of over-produced puppies, put to sleep in a “down” market to recoup losses from the over-speculative production that brought them into existence. This may be solved with the cloning of pets “to order,” keeping maintenance costs low by providing direct service from the lab to the consumer.
Dogs would turn into a commodity, much like toys, rather than the slightly independent life form they are now. Value of each “style” will be determined in this new market, and some people will be priced-out from having their desired breed to a greater extent than which exists currently. Sadly, pet abandonment could increase as owners begin to see the animal more as a commodity than a living being. Popularity of a particular breed may rise, whereas others will fall; if animals are regarded more as commodities, instances such “Paris Hilton syndrome” may occur with greater frequency.
The Chihuahua; popularized by Hollywood, Television, and commercials; fell out style. The animals started turning up in shelters in San Francisco, where officials say “If the trend continues…the (city) shelter would become 50 per cent Chihuahua within months. People who purchase an animal like it was a toy, treat it as such. In that respect, “designer dogs” are dangerous idea in a consumer culture such as ours. Life (although it already is in some respects) shouldn’t be treated as something to, in one instance, desire; in another, throw away.
The question remains: How far do we go in our attempt to perfect life? And, what if the knowledge of the scientific community is still too naïve to understand the consequences of it’s’ actions? What of all the unpredictable externalities that may occur with pet (and eventually, human) trait selection? That is not to say that we should abandon attempts at bettering the world in which we live; genetic manipulation is a tool that can help us do that.
In a perfect world, there would no longer be vicious animals (or humans). Pets (and, again, humans) could perhaps live longer, having the best possible genetic combinations. It should be consciously realized that the “mutt” (again, humans as well), could disappear, for better or for worse. Genetic manipulation should be a tool for species to better themselves or be bettered; however, it should be an ‘equalizer.’ There must be careful considerations not to drive a larger wedge between socioeconomic classes, be it from selecting the best human traits, or having access to the best designer animal.
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