Prompted by a shortage of beef, China is planning to build the largest animal cloning factory in the world.
With an investment of 200 million yuan ($31.3 million), the factory, set to be built in Tianjin, is being developed by biotechnology firm BoyaLife and South Korea’s Sooam Biotech, along with the Tianjin International Joint Academy of Biotechnology and Medicine, the Sooam Biotech Research Foundation of South Korea, and the Tianjin Economic-Technological Development Area, according to China Daily.
The factory will have a 15,000-square-meter cloning laboratory, an animal center, a gene bank and an educational exhibition center at its disposal to clone cattle, dogs, race horses and various other animals, including endangered ones.
“This is going to change our world and our lives,” Xu Xiaochun, chairman of BoyaLife, told the Guardian. “It is going to make our life better. So we are very, very excited about it.”
For its first phase of cloning, the factory will clone 100,000 cattle for beef and milk, according to Xu Xiaochun, chairman of BoyaLife, which is funding the factory’s infrastructure and is the only commercial provider of cloned animals in the China.
The number of cloned cattle is expected to reach 1 million by the factory’s second phase.
The move to clone cattle is expected to lower the average price of beef, which has more than tripled between 2000 and 2013.
Zhang Yong, a cloning expert and professor at the College of Veterinary Medicine at Shaanxi Province’s Northwest A&F University, said the public should not be scared of eating cloned beef. “Beef from cloned cattle is safe to eat,” he said.
As for whether cloned beef tastes the same as regular beef, Xu boasted in a media conference call: “I can tell you, cloned beef is the tastiest beef I’ve had.”