Barbra Streisand attends the Tribeca Talks: Storytellers event during the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival on Friday, April 29, 2017, in New York. Streisand recently cloned her now-deceased dog, Samantha.

Credit: Charles Sykes/Invision/AP

The Ethics Of Pet Cloning

March 7, 2018

The death of a dog can leave any pet owner completely devastated and feeling like they have lost a member of their family. But these days, pets can be cloned — and that's just what singer Barbra Streisand did to cope with the loss of her 14-year-old Coton de Tulear. 

Variety broke last week that Streisand's two new dogs, Miss Violet and Miss Scarlett, are actually clones of her dog Samantha, who died last May. The New York Times reported that the procedure cost at least $50,000.

Streisand told Variety that the dogs don’t have the same personalities as Samantha. “I’m waiting for them to get older so I can see if they have her brown eyes and her seriousness,” she told the magazine.

Medical ethicist Art Caplan told Boston Public Radio Wednesday that Streisand should not expect any of Samantha’s traits to show up in the new dogs.

“You don’t get back the dog you wanted because you can’t clone personality and behavior,” he said.

Caplan criticized Streisand’s decisions to clone her dog instead of helping one of the millions of dogs in rescue shelters. "It's a pretty big indulgence,” he said.

Medical Ethicist Art Caplan is head of the Division of Medical Ethics at NYU Langone Medical Center ad the co-host of the Everyday Ethics podcast. To listen to his entire interview with Boston Public Radio, click the audio player above

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