After all the uproar, pet-cloning disappears with a whimper.
Pet-cloning business closes — not ‘commercially viable’
Owner had sought to replicate his own beloved husky mix
Peter Fimrite, Chronicle Staff Writer
The Sausalito biotechnology company that charged a bereaved pet owner $50,000 to clone her cat two years ago is going out of business, associates confirmed Tuesday.
Genetic Savings and Clone is not accepting new orders for clones because the company was “unable to develop the technology to the point that cloning pets is commercially viable,” according to a letter sent out to its clients.
The company, started by iconoclastic octogenarian and millionaire John Sperling, had cloned a total of two cats for sale, including Little Nicky, whose owner paid $50,000 for the duplicate in 2004. The company also charged clients to bank genetic material from pets they intended to clone.
The long-sought goal of replicating Sperling’s husky mix named Missy, who died in 2002 at the age of 15, was never achieved.
The demise of Genetic Savings and Clone was met with great joy by animal rights advocates, who were outraged by the whole operation.
“It was just wrong on so many levels to start this business,” said Sue Leary, president of the American Anti-Vivisection Society, a Pennsylvania organization that has fought animal experimentation since 1883. “There were ethical problems. There were serious animal welfare problems. They were exploiting people who had lost a pet and were grieving. It was an impossible promise that they were making.”
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