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Clones of a Canadian Sniffer Dog Will Help Guard South Korea’s Borders

July 21, 2009

I was planning to write a post about the latest chapter in the sad story of Canada’s dysfunctional refugee system, namely Jason Kenney’s ham-fisted decision to impose visa requirements on Czech and Mexican visitors, when my attention got diverted by a far less distasteful bit of news:

South Korea’s customs service says it has deployed the “world’s first cloned sniffer dogs” to check for drugs at its main airport and border crossings.

Six puppies cloned from a Canadian-born sniffer dog in late 2007 have reported for duty after completing a 16-month training programme.

Apparently the champion sniffer who provided the DNA is a male Labrador retriever called Chase. I don’t know how or why the South Korean customs people recruited him, but apparently they were sufficiently impressed with this expatriate Canadian canine that they decided they needed more like him.

It’s gratifying, of course, that the raw material for this breakthrough came from Canada. Nevertheless, it rankles just slightly that Chase’s supremely sniffy genes had to travel halfway around the world to get themselves cloned. I take this vignette as a quirky illustration of a real problem with the Canadian economy – too often we content ourselves with providing resources that foreign companies can transform into finished, useful products. It would be nice to see government and industry put more resources into scientific and technological innovation, so that the next litter of puppies cloned from a Canadian Überhund can be born somewhere within our own borders.

However, we can probably find better things to clone than dogs with keen noses for drugs. I’m sure Jason Kenney, for one, would rather have an elite force of canines capable of sniffing out fradulent refugee claimants. Personally, I think we should get our best biomedical scientists working on a way to duplicate Ezra Levant – not merely grow a new human from his genetic material – so that we can send much-needed copies to Australia and Ireland.


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