Cloning. It’s a controversial subject. Many people believe it’s the way of the future, while others say it’s unnatural, with unknown long-term side effects.
Despite biotech companies continuing to push the commercial boundaries of this field, widespread doubts remain. In September, the European Union banned the cloning of animals for farming, reported The Telegraph.
Renate Sommer, the EU’s environment committee co-rapporteur, said cloning techniques are not “fully mature.”
“In fact, no further progress has been made with it,” Sommer said at that time. “The mortality rate remains equally high. Many of the animals which are born alive die in the first few weeks, and they die painfully. Should we allow that?”
And now China is planning to build the world’s biggest animal cloning factory.
And it will be cloning on a massive scale.
The city of Tianjin will host a new mega factory that aims to clone 1 million cattle embryos a year. The main building is already under construction at Tianjin Economic Technological Development Area, and is due to be completed by the middle of next year, according to state run media.
Besides cattle, the factory will clone sniffer and pet dogs, racehorses, and “non-human” primates. The facility will also include a cloning lab, gene bank, and a science education center.
The 200 million yuan ($31.29 million) facility is jointly built by Chinese biotechnology firm Boyalife, and South Korea’s Sooam Biotech Research Foundation.
The founder of Sooam Biotech, Hwang Woo-suk, was involved in controversy 10 years ago, reports Sky News. Hwang and two Chinese research institutions claimed they had cloned a human, but were found to have used fraudulent research, while also ignoring ethical boundaries.
News about the cloning factory has been met with some online skepticism, and here are some comments as reported by Sky News:
- “Is cloning even legal?”
- “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!”
- “Is this meat going to be sold in South Korea or China? If in China, please make our leaders eat it first.”
- “Insane. There are already enough stray dogs at the moment, so many that the unclaimed ones are euthanized. What will be done with so many more?”
See what the crew at The Lip TV has to say about factory-scale animal cloning in China: