The year 2016 will see the world’s largest animal cloning factory opening at the Chinese port city of Tianjin. The news was made public by the companies behind this massive project.
This factory is the result of a joint venture between Boyalife, a Chinese biotechnology firm, and South Korean research company Sooam Biotech. Reports suggest that the new facility will have a total valuation of $31 million and will be cloning animals such as dogs to be used for police works and as pets, beef cattle, race horses, etc. Other than cloning stations, the facility will also be home to a museum and a gene bank.
Boyalife Group’s board chairman Xu Xiaochun informed that of late Chinese farmers have been struggling to come up with enough beef cattle for meeting the market demands. He said that initially, the new cloning center will be producing 100,000 cattle embryos every year, which will eventually increase to a whopping 1 million.
A large number of people expressed their skepticism about eating cloned meat through messages published on .social networking platforms. It seems that people are more worried as something like this is happening in a country that is already riled in several food-safety scandals.
One commenter on social media wrote that the cloned beef must first be set aside for leaders in the central government and should be made available for the country’s common people only after the leaders and their family members consume them for ten years. Another fellow posted a message asking that whether the cloned meat will be sold in China or South Korea; according to that person if the authorities have decided to sell the meat in China, they must make sure that it is first eaten by the country’s leaders.
China’s plan is not going down well even with the critics. This is primarily because Woo-suk Hwang, the founder of Sooam Biotech, got convicted a few years back of misusing research funds and illegally purchasing human eggs for research.
Jaydee Hanson, Center for Food Safety’s senior policy analyst, said that anything with connections to Woo-suk Hwang will remain a suspect. He feels that Boyalife will not be around for a long time.
Here, it must be mentioned that cloning is not new in China, since 2000, scientists in the country have cloned several animals including pigs, ship, and cattle.