When my husband showed me the Genpets website I can hardly describe my thoughts and feelings. They're here, I thought. It's happened. Mad scientists have created bioengineered life, packaged it, and it's for sale. I felt squeemish. I felt sad for the little creatures hanging in rows in shop windows. What are they capable of feeling, of understanding? Would children receive these "pets" for Christmas only to abuse or neglect them? I felt angry. Real human babies are regularly abandoned or aborted while millions of dollars have gone into the research, creation and marketing of a bizarre life form created for the amusement of the rich. The fact that the website likens them to "newborn humans" was especially ironic, I thought.
The next day I was relieved to discover that Genpets are not really living creatures but the creation of artist, Adam Brandejs. I felt a little foolish for believing that they were real. At the bottom of the Genpets website, click on the about page to read about his reasons for why he created Genpets. Please be aware that some of the links will take you to images that you will not want to look at with children peering over your shoulder. Brandejs work is technically phenomenal and he is truly an important artist for our time. He simply wants us to "slow down, stop and think" about the implications of new technology. When I thought the Genpets were real, the website was emotionally wrenching to look at. Now I consider myself better educated about bioengineering, both its potentialities and how far it really has gone. The Genpets website has a link to a National Geographic article about human-animal chimeras that have already been made. Scary.