China plans a giant animal cloning facility, set to start production in 2016
Next year, a 31 million dollar animal cloning facility is set to start production in China, with plans to clone dogs, horses, and up to one million cattle a year, sounding off alarms for concerned citizens and scientists alike.
As reported by Xinhua News Agency, the giant facility to be opened in the northern port city of Tianjin will include a gene bank and cloning laboratories. A joint project conducted by Chinese biotech firm Boyalife and South Korean Sooam Biotech, the plant will produce police and pet dogs, racehorses, and cows meant for consumption, all to be sold on an open and industrial scale. This announcement concerns many for moral and/or scientific reasons. The fact that the facility is built in proximity to where deadly chemical explosions killed 165 people last August doesn't help the company's cause in promoting the safety of their endeavors. On top of that, people still don't know what the effects will be on the human body for eating cloned meat. But we don't have a choice, according to Boyalife chairman Xu Xiaochun: "Chinese farmers are struggling to produce enough beef cattle to meet market demand."
Cloning animals is nothing new to the partnership of Boyalife and Sooam Biotech. Last year, they cloned three pure-blooded Tibetan mastiffs for the commercial market. And China has been cloning animals for a while now, having started four years after the first-ever cloned animal, Dolly the Sheep, was born in Scotland. But it doesn't seem that many Chinese citizens are happy with this new development. One online commentator wrote, "We have enough stray dogs already!" And to add even more to the already wide existing concern about cloning, Sooam Biotech is the same firm that announced a few years ago that they successfully cloned a human embryo, but in fact, their research was found to be fraudulent and full of errors.
The day of successful human cloning is probably right around the corner. Are you concerned?