5% of China's Beef to Come From Huge Cloning Factory

BoyaLife says it will produce 100K bovine embryos per year
By Elizabeth Armstrong Moore,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 1, 2015 8:44 AM CST
5% of China's Beef to Come From Huge Cloning Factory
Cloned cows Peggy Sue, right, and Anna Belle, left, are shown on a farm operated by ViaGen outside of Austin, Texas, in this Oct. 4, 2005 file photo.   (AP Photo/Thomas Terry)

Facing a serious meat shortage as its population continues to grow and industrialize, China is set to open the world's largest animal-cloning factory in the first half of 2016. But it's not just cloning and raising cattle for beef. Commercial genetics company BoyaLife, which is building the center with South Korea's Sooam Biotech, Sinica, Peking University's Institute of Molecular Medicine, and the Tianjin International Joint Academy of Biomedicine, says it also plans to clone racehorses and dogs—the latter not just for pets but to sniff out illegal drugs and victims of natural disasters, reports Vice. It may even help rescue endangered species from the brink of extinction.

"In China we do things on a massive scale," BoyaLife CEO Xu Xiaochun told Bloomberg back in 2014. "We want to do all this not just for profit, but also for history." And in spite of some controversy on the use of cloned animals, he tells the Guardian he's confident the move is a positive one: "We are going [down] a path that no one has ever traveled. We are building something that has not existed in the past. This is going to change our world and our lives. It is going to make our life better. So we are very, very excited about it." The European Parliament has voted to outlaw the sale of cloned livestock, while in the US the FDA has long taken the stance that cloned meat is safe and harbors no complications "unique to cloning." (The US is already in the cloning racehorses game.)

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