Look up! I think pigs are flying! It seems that way anyway, doesn’t it? So many things we never thought could happen in a million years have happened. Kim Kardashian seems to be a somewhat normal mom. Our fave shows and fashion trends are cool again. And now, people can clone their dogs. What a time to be alive, right?
Correction: when I say “people,” I don’t mean you or me. Considering I grew up in a family who buried our dead cat in the backyard, I don’t think we had the means to clone our golden retriever even if we wanted to. But if you’re… Oh, I don’t know… BARBRA STREISAND, for example, then you probably can afford it.
And she can. And she did. As reported by Variety, the Queen Babs herself successfully cloned her pup, Samantha, who passed away last May. Knowing she wanted to keep Samantha alive in some way, Streisand had cells taken from the dog’s mouth and stomach before she died. Samantha’s DNA yielded not one, but two new dogs, lovingly called Miss Violet and Miss Scarlett.
But, because they are actually clones, the dogs looked so similar that she couldn’t tell them apart—which led to her dressing them in a purple sweater and a red sweater, and naming them accordingly. (Check out her IG feed, where they are frequently pictured next to their cousin Miss Fanny, to soak in this cuteness.)
I know what you’re wondering. How much does it actually cost to clone your pet? Well, it’s not 57 bajillion dollars as I figured, but it’s no trip down the clearance rack at Kohl’s either. People reports that while it used to cost $100 G’s to clone a pet just a few years ago, now that prices have been slashed by the company ViaGen, who offers the service for a mere $50,000 to clone a dog and $25,000 to clone a cat.
Which is probably pennies to Barbra.
But just like back in 1995 when Dolly the Sheep was cloned, people are again debating whether cloning is right or wrong. Whether it is ethical. Whether it is crossing the line and playing God. Clearly Barbra Streisand sees no issue with it, nor do other famous gajillionaires like Barry Diller and Diane von Furstenberg, who cloned their Jack Russell Terrier a few years ago.
Many disagree. In an interview with Scientific American, John Woestendiek, author of Dog, Inc., raises the question of “whether we really need new ways to make dogs when so many are already being put down in shelters.” He has a point. Woestendiek also says it takes many dogs and many surgeries to conduct cloning, which he finds problematic. And finally, he wonders if companies like ViaGen exploit grieving families because, even though their pets are cloned, a pet’s personality cannot be replicated.
Even Streisand herself knows that—telling Variety that the cloned dogs “have different personalities.” And she adds, “I’m waiting for them to get older so I can see if they have her brown eyes and seriousness.”
So I’m left asking myself, what’s the point? If the chances are good that these dogs won’t act like her beloved Samantha, why drop this kind of cash? Is it just to hold a piece of her deceased pet in her arms and continue her life in some way?
Well, I guess we know what rich people who have everything put on their Christmas list!
Honestly, though, Babs sort of gets a free pass in my book to do what she wants. This woman is a force and uses her influence for good. A trailblazer in the entertainment industry, Barbra Streisand broke through barriers no woman had before her. As shared in her Variety interview, the singer/songwriter/actress was the first woman to work simultaneously as the star, director, producer and co-writer of a movie.
“I didn’t know it was a glass ceiling,” she says about her achievements. “I just thought, they don’t believe in a woman’s capacity to handle finances or to be the businessman.” Well, maybe she didn’t know the roof above her was breakable, but she sure cracked it open. And as a staunch supporter of Hillary Clinton, she continues to advocate for women’s rights both in the entertainment industry and in other areas of American society.
So yeah, if you want to clone your dogs, I’m not here to criticize you, Ms. Streisand. I don’t think I’d ever seek out a pet-cloning company myself, mostly because I don’t have a dog or cat, and also because my money tree must have blown away in last week’s storm. But if someone is looking to clone moms, now that may get my attention.