Construction is underway in the Port of Tianjin, China for the world’s largest animal cloning factory. The project, led by Chinese biotechnology firm Boyalife and The Republic of Korea’s Sooam Biotech Research Foundation, is projected to cost 200-million yuan ($31-million-dollars) and will house a cloning laboratory, gene bank and museum within the 14,000 square-meter complex. Other partners in the construction of the facility include Sinica, Peking University’s Institute of Molecular Medicine and the Tianjin International Joint Academy of Biomedicine.
Though this is not the first animal cloning factory in China, it will be the largest scale endeavor of its kind with plans to clone dogs for pets and police purposes, racehorses, and cattle. As China’s growing demand for meat continues and Chinese farmers struggle to meet the demand, The Hankyroreh reports that premium cattle production will be the chief production focus.
During the press conference, Xu Xiaochun, Chief Executor of Boyalife, explained:
“As a first stage, we plan to produce 100,000 head[s] of cloned cattle a year, after which we will begin stage two and the production of one million head a year…. Cloned beef is the most delicious beef I have ever tasted.”
This number would make the factory responsible for just 5% of the premium beef market. Xiaochun expressed feelings of pride and optimism when speaking with The Guardian, noting that this technology will serve both humanity and the natural world and has the potential to bring species back from the brink of extinction:
“We are going [down] a path that no one has ever traveled. We are building something that has not existed in the past.”
In contrast, D.News reported on the concern expressed on social media on both the proximity to the site of the deadly chemical explosion that killed 165 people this past August and the safety and morality of the project. “Is cloning even legal?” asked one critic. Another person said, “Insane. There are already enough stray dogs at the moment, so many that the unclaimed ones are euthanised [sic]. What will be done with so many more?” One commenter said, “This beef definitely must first be saved just for the central government leaders; only after they and their families have eaten it for 10 years should they deign to give it to us, the people! Really can’t wait!”
The factory is set to begin operations sometime in early 2016.
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