If anything it would be for the better. I would like to see more people getting started in this hobby.
Remember that Quality is much more inmportant than quantity. I would not mind few less keepers and have them more knowledgable and/or committed.
If the price of snakes were to rise, then every kid with $10 bucks in their pocket could not get that "Garden Snake" or Cornsnake. I spend more on a pack of cigarettes than I do on a baby Corn. I spend more on a 12 pack of medeocre beer than a Ball Python. The price has been dropped so low on many species that we have soomed them. People often think that you get what you pay for. How much respect would neducated buyers give a $5 snake or iguana? They have become "Disposable Pets". And it is our own fault. The market is saturated. The low dollar animals are being bred and/or imported by the thousands. Last I heard, about 10,000 Ball Pythons were imported each year just into the US. That is not including the thousands that are bred here each year. I am in no way condemning breeders. Most keepers have or will breed at some point. It is the natural progression of the hobby. But there is a reason that certain species are more expensive. They are harder to get and/or difficult to breed. If anyone could do it, then everyone would. Doctors charge alot of money, that is because what they do is difficult.
Trying to cut corners generally has concequences down the road. Alot of breeders already cut corners by shameless line breeding. One snake in that line has a bad gene that predisposes it to a bad health condition, then all the subsequent snakes in that line are also predisposed to it. Look at RI in Burm Morphs. Rather than taking the time to do some outbreeding to produce a stronger genetic line, many cut corners and line breed to get results as quickly as possible. Cloning takes this to a new level. Not only are we not divirsifying the gene pool, but it becomes stagnant. And just like any stagnant "pool", it is a hot bed for disease and other problems (good analogy huh?
Not to mention that the idea of a herp "factory" leaves a bad taste in my mouth. I realize that you were just throwing out an idea and noone is trying to be mean. It is a good topic and one that I have not seen come up before. It is a nice change from "my snake won't eat"
A little more philosophical. But back to the subject:
Cloning snakes is also financially unfeasible. We can produce actual diamonds in the lab. But the cost of production is tremendously higher thanto just buy a real diamond. And we have had this technology for years. Even some of the more expensive snakes would not come near the cost to "manufacture" them.
And like many others, I would have moral issues with it. I would not even want severely endangered animals to be cloned. The lack of gene diviersity in certain species is bad enough. Look at Bengal Tigers. They have been inbred for so long in captivity that white tigers are now the Dominant gene. If we have brought an animal that close to extinction, then all we can really do is try to preserve what is left, not produce 1000 replicas of the same particular specimen. All that would be doing is genetically depleting the species as a whole and stape off extinction for a while longer with no long term benifits.
I just need to go to one of these labs and have them produce 1000 more BWSmiths and I gurantee that they would see the errs in cloning and shut the doors.