GenPets: Showing Us the Depths of Moral Irresponsibility

Shocking and bizarre could sum up a reasonable reaction to a little oddity known as a "GenPet". Upon coming across this strange..invention one is caught between a sense of disbelief on multiple levels, and a sort of nauseous realization that something like this really Could happen in this day and age.

If you visit the GenPet's website: you will find this description of the product that is being advertised:

"Say Hello to the all New Genpets™ from Bio.Genica!
The Genpets™ are Pre-Packaged, Bioengineered pets implemented today!

That’s right, Genpets are not toys or robots. They are living, breathing genetic animals.

We use a process called "Zygote Micro Injection" which is quickly becoming a favorable method to combine DNA, or to insert certain proteins from different species. Most notably it was used in 1997 to splice mice with bioluminescent jellyfish (link) and has since been used to create glowing rabbits, pigs, fish, and monkeys (link). Since then, human DNA has been injected into rabbits, chimpanzees, spider DNA into sheep, and now, Genpets have arrived!...

We’ve gone one step further by packaging the Genpets™ into plastic packages unlike any other. Each Genpet™ package has a fully functional heart rate monitor and Fresh Strip to better gauge the state of each pet while it lies in its hibernation state....

From there we’ve broken it down even further. While each Genpet may look the same, really they aren’t. Each Genpet™ comes with a color-coded personality. For example, a child that wishes to have a Genpet™ that is very energetic would choose a Red Genpet™ (see features section for details).

Engineered DNA, engineered personalities, and engineered lifespan, it doesn’t come any better than that. Bio-Genica has you covered on all bases. Just leave the details to us."

Here is a picture of one of these...things....

The GenPets creations have made it to store front windows and galleries where they illicited reactions from people which might only be called reasonable in light of what was being advertised as a great alternative to a toy for anyone's youngster.

"Genpets seems to create a reaction wherever they go. While in the store window of Iodine Toronto, the shop owner began sleeping in the store as many nights, people would bang at the windows furiously. Some in protest of the small Bio-genetically engineered creatures trapped in plastic..."

While other reactions..most notably from the up and coming generation were much more accepting...

"some wanting to wake them up or buy them. Hordes of teens wanting a bioengineered pet met confused, baffled, or even shocked looks from parents." that you've been thoroughly can relax...a little. GenPets are, after all, a hoax. The creation of one Adam Brandejs, an artist who constructed these robotic, very life-like creatures which mimic breathing, twitching and clawing in their wire and plastic "hibernation" restraints. The purpose of their creation and the hoax in general was a social experiment of sorts, he says. An attempt to bring the full impact of bioengineering to light...though he is not against bioengineering in general according to his own claims.

"I’m not against bioengineering, I’m simply hesitant towards where and how and by whom the technology will be used. That’s what this sculpture sums up...I think it's important to take a critical look at both sides of an issue before coming to any sort of conclusion. Bioengineering could lead to medical breakthroughs that save lives, but will it? Genpets is more of a critique of corporate ethics than anything else. " - Adam Brandejs, Gen Pets creator" - Adam Brandejs, GenPets creator

After we are done being relieved that we don't have to bewail the lamentable plight of these sad little creatures stuck in plastic who are programmed to live for only three years or less...we need to see this kind of trend and curiosity for what it really is. Whether Mr. Brandejs knows it or not, his little stunt bears a striking resemblance to how shocking new conditions are normally introduced to the public. A little talk here and a little revelation there from the scientific community..politics which reflect, on a superficial level, what the gauge of public reaction is at present..and then the inevitable trial hoax.

What a good hoax like this can do for those who are really very serious about a future in radical bioengineering is give a very accurate picture of exactly where the public's mind is on the issue. How far can they push you...what can they get you to feel is good, acceptable,cool or trendy. It has a noted effect of desensitizing as you bounce back from the shock of hearing that they are selling little chimeras in plastic bubbles, you are far less likely to get upset about the real industry of bioengineered pets.

Yes, there is a real industry for genetically modified pets...although so far, the most interesting things being sold are cats which are supposedly hypoallergenic. Companies like Lifestyle Pets, formerly known as Allerca, Felix Pets and Transgenic Pets Inc. all boast the claim of having created cats which have a non-active form of one protein believed to cause allergic reactions in people. It seems rather harmless in comparison to an idea like GenPets..right?

What could be wrong with bioengineering cats which don't cause sneezing? If nothing is wrong with that..what could be wrong with marketing bunny rabbits and puppies which glow in the dark ? (both of which have been created, if not sold as pets) Could there really be anything so bad as a few animals with human genes so long as it advances medical science? The shock begins to wear off one small step at a time...basic arguments about meddling with creation have never stood the test of time against so many things which are now a normal part of society. Science does not lack the ability to make any strange combination of chimera whether for use in a lab or sold as a trendy pet...the only thing which stands between us and the very real introduction of GenPets is the limits which human morality would place on such things. That has proven time and again to be a very weak barrier which can easily be broken down and there is little doubt in my mind that such a thing as GenPets will exist in some form or other in the future.

Possibly the most disturbing point in the whole GenPets drama is the reaction of the younger generation. While those reactions of their parents' generation were ones which reflect a normal repulsion to such an idea...the younger crowd were quite taken with the idea..they couldn't wait to have one. These kids did not stop to ask themselves questions about whether or not this was in any way humane...they weren't disturbed that living creatures had been created only to amuse children, be packaged into plastic containers and then forced to live out strange, short lives performing like circus animals. Quality of life was not an issue, disposable life was not an issue...even what manner of life these things were was not asked. Treating something alive and able to feel pain and possibly emotion with no more care than one would treat a disposable plaything seemed to not phase them.

In a disposable world where life has been consistently devalued in the minds of each successive's no wonder. To this next generation..what will life mean exactly...what will Human life mean? They have been programmed to think of human life as merely a higher sort of animal life and even been convinced to look at humanity as if it is inherently a plague upon earth. Infants are regarded as disposable byproducts of casual sex. Elders are regarded as disposable members of society, having outlived their usefulness. The poor and the homeless are not even deemed to be human at all...merely the unfortunate losing fringes of Social Darwinism.

GenPets are simply a peek into what comes next in a cold, loveless world which consistently refuses to look to their Creator for a moral foundation. There is no acceptable level of playing "god"...a lesson that the human race has sadly seemed to never grasp.

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Genpet FAQ

Are Genpets Real animals? How?
Genpets are living, breathing mammals. Bio-Genica is a Bioengineering Company that has combined, and modified existing DNA to create the Genpets lineup. Genpets have blood, bones, and muscle; they will bleed if you cut them, and die if mistreated just like any other animal. The electronic components are only in the packages and are for basic life support, outside of the packages the Genpets are wholly organic.
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Genpets are packaged like toys though.
Genpets are designed to be sold on retail store shelves, not traditional pet stores. This is why they are packaged in plastic.
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How are Genpets made?
The original prototype and breeding Genpets were created using a process called "Zygote Micro Injection" Thereafter the Genpets are grown in assisted breeding lab farms. Zygote Micro Injection is quickly becoming a favourable method to combine DNA, or to insert certain proteins from different species. Most notably it was used in 1997 to splice mice with bioluminescent jellyfish (link) and has since been used to create glowing rabbits, pigs, fish, and monkeys (link). Since then, human DNA has been injected into chimpanzees, spider into sheep, and now, Genpets have arrived.
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Is bioengineering this far advanced?
In 2003 Human DNA was successfully combined with rabbit (and other animals), to create successful Chimera Hybrids. Read National Geographic for more information (link). While Bio-Gencia is still awaiting approval for worldwide distributionof the Genpets, Allerca already sells genetically altered cats.
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How do Genpets stay alive in the packages?
While the Genpets™ hang on retail shelves they are in a chemically induced type of hibernation controlled by a protein in the packages’ nutrient supply tubes. This was a natural trait found in many seasonal animals that would normally hibernate in colder northern climates that has been added to the Genpet line. This also ensures comfort for the Genpets™ while they are on store shelves.
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How do the Genpets breath in the packages?
There are vent holes on the side of the package that allow filtered air to pass.
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Do Genpets feel pain?
Yes. However the Genpets have limited vocal chords so they will not create a large amount of noise when disturbed.
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What if I go on vacation?
The same protein that keeps the Genpet dormant on store shelves can be supplied at anytime during the life span of the Genpet making care for the pet incredibly simple.
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Do Genpets show emotions?
Yes. This is part of why we have colour coded the Genpets. They come in seven different personality types. Each personality type shows slightly different emotions.
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Do Genpets Talk?
Genpets have limited vocal chords for the convenience of parents. However, they do make some sound.
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Do Genpets grow?
Genpets come fully-grown in their packaging.
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Where can I buy a Genpet?
We are currently getting the Genpets approved for resale, as well as securing retail opportunities. No public release date has yet been set.
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When will the Genpets be available for purchase?
As soon as possible!
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How much will Genpets cost? (msrp)

This has yet to be set; however, we feel the Genpets will be very competitively priced.
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How long do Genpets live?
Genpets come in two basic configurations, 1 and 3 year models. See our Meet section.
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Do Genpets require batteries?

No, the Genpets are living animals. The power source used is only for the life monitoring devices within the package.
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Do Genpets come out of the packages?
Yes, after purchase Genpets can be removed from their package; we will soon be doing a photo shoot to make this more clear through the website. Think of Genpets as living dolls. Genpets are designed to move more like a newborn human child, thus their range of motion is rather limited.
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Do Genpets grow hair or fur?

Very Little. Genpets only grow a small amount of hair under their armpits. The Genpets are designed to resemble human babies and be hypo allergenic.
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Do Genpets bite?
Genpets should not bite, however Bio-Genica does sell the tooth remover kit.
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Do Genpets open their eyes?
Yes, upon removing a Genpet from the package the pet will slowly wake up over the course of approximately 20minutes.
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Do Genpets recognize their owner?
Yes. Upon waking up a Genpet will bond to its owner and recognize that person for the remainder of their lifecycle.
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How are the personalities controlled?
The Genpet feeding packs are color coded and specially formulated with a custom drug mixture that can be used to control the Genpet, much like human drugs can such as Ritalin or Lithium and other behaviour modifying drugs. Thus we can calm them, or stimulate them without extra tampering to the DNA structure.
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Do Genpets walk on two legs or on all fours?

As stated, Genpets have limited mobility and react more as an infant child, expect a Genpet to 'wiggle' more than it will crawl.
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Do Genpets defecate?
As Genpets produce little waste, and therefore also require only sparse feeding making them a perfect pet.
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What, and how do you feed a Genpet?
Bio-Genica, as well as retail partners, sell a special nutrient pack for the Genpets that need only be administered once per week.
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Can Genpets reproduce?
No. The consumer Genpets cannot reproduce.
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Do you have a reseller network?
Yes. If you are interested in becoming a reseller, please complete our Reseller Application form and a Bio-Genica representative will contact you shortly.
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Why haven’t I seen any commercials for Genpets on TV?

As Genpets have not yet been released, we have not begun our marketing campaigns.
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Can I obtain a sample Genpet for review or for feedback?
Unfortunetly not. Due to legal limitations we cannot send out samples of the Genpets.
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Why is there a forum for Genpet owners if Genpets are not yet for sale?

A select number of Genpets have been released to Bio-Genica employees for Beta Testing. This is not a public release.
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What do I do with my Genpet once it dies?
A Genpet can be buried in your backyard like any other pet, or they can be sent back to a Bio-genica service center for bio recycling.
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Can Genpets wear clothing?

Bio-Genica does not produce Genpet clothing, however, you are welcome to create your own Genpet clothing if you wish.
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Is Bio-Genica playing God?

A question we unfortunately receive far too often. The collie, the poodle, the common house cat, the ferret, and countless other animals have been bred by human beings over the last few thousand years long before bioengineering.
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Isn't it inhumane to pack the Genpets into packages with only small breathing holes?
While the Genpets are in their packages they are clean, well fed, and most importantly asleep. Now compare this to the current pet store situation where multiple animals are encased in small cages or glass aquariums together, not always fed or cleaned regularly, and going over the trauma of hundreds of people poking and taping at the cages, small children screaming, birds chirping, and all the smells that may not bother your nose, but are far more intense for a small animal. Bio-Genica has developed the most humane form of pet transport that is beneficial to both the you and your Genpet.
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Can Genpets become angry or violent?
The Genpets are designed to be docile, combined with that, the nutrient packs keep them well tempered. If a Genpet were to be taken off of its nutrient pack it would die long before any behavioural issues could develop as the nutrient packs are also the Genpets sole source of food.
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Can I feed my Genpet with something else?
This is not advised. Feeding a Genpet with something other than a Bio-Genica nutrient pack would result in death of the Genpet. The Bio-Genica designed Genpet nutrient packs contain special proteins that the Genpet requires to survive. Also of note is that nutrient packs cannot be mixed. A red Genpet can only accept a red nutrient pack. See the product manual for more information.
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What countries will Genpets be available in?
Bio-Genica is still developing reseller connections and government approval; however we hope to be able to offer Genpets to every corner of the globe.
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Do the Genpets require sleep?
Similar to Ferrets, Genpets will sleep approximately 18 hours of the day, making them very easy to take care of (unlike ferrets).
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Can you bathe Genpets?

Yes! Please see the product manual for more information.
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Do the Genpets have brains?
Like all mammals Genpets have brains. Again, Genpets are living creatures.
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©2004-2010 Bio-Genica, Genetic Engineering and Manufacturing, Inc. All rights reserved.
Oh how relieved I was to find this to be a "hoax"- but indeed, it seems the time when this sort of thing will be increasingly acceptable to people is around the corner.

It's a good thing you made mention it was a social experiment, Cyp, or I might have not been able to control my fist going through my monitor.

Honestly, the conclusion of this blog is as horrifying as the beginning 

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