Skip to main content

China is building a controversial animal cloning facility to satisfy rising meat demands

china to build worlds largest animal cloning factory cloned cows
Image used with permission by copyright holder
Despite the fact that Chinese families consume far less meat per capita than their western counterparts, China still eats a lot of meat. As a whole, the country actually consumes over twice as much as the entire US does each year, and demand is steadily rising. To meet this growing demand, a company by the name of BoyaLife has recently announced that it intends to open the world’s largest animal cloning facility. Currently under construction some 100 miles from China’s capital of Beijing, the new factory will not only supply the country with a steady output of cloned meat, but also protect some animal species from extinction

Once construction of the $31 million facility is complete, BoyaLife CEO Xu Xiaochun hopes its production model will allow the company to supply roughly five percent of the total meat eaten each year in China. To get an idea of just how much meat this is, a USDA study in 2012 revealed that China consumes just north of 70 million tons of meat each year, far surpassing the United States’ 32 million tons. In other words, China likes meat, and a savvy company found a new —and controversial— way to satisfy the country’s demand.

“We are going [down] a path that no one has ever travelled,” Xu tells the Guardian. “We are building something that has not existed in the past.”

The Tianjin animal cloning facility
The Tianjin animal cloning facility BoyaLife

Perhaps one of the main reasons a facility of this nature hasn’t been built before is the massive amount of uncertainty surrounding the ethics and safety of cloning. Just this past September, members of the European Union parliament voted (by a large margin, no less) to “ban the cloning of all farm animals as well as the sale of cloned livestock, their offspring, and products derived from them.” Those supporting the ban referenced the fact very few cloned animals actually survive to term, with many dying shortly after birth. As you can imagine, this has animal rights activists completely up in arms over the issue.

On the other hand, however, reports submitted to the FDA in 2008 concluded that meat or milk from cloned cows, pigs, or goats is as safe to eat as meat or milk from traditionally-raised animals. Then, in 2010, the United Kingdom’s Food Standards Agency gave the “all-clear” regarding the consumption of meat and milk from cloned animals, ruling it completely safe to eat. Even Xu himself told a group of reporters that cloned beef is “tastiest beef” he’s ever had.

“This is going to change our world and our lives,” Xu continues. “It is going to make our life better. So we are very, very excited about it.”

After construction ends, the new facility will take up roughly 14,000 square feet of space, effectively making it the largest animal cloning facility in the world. Though BoyaLife intends to raise around 100,000 “top quality” cow embryos each year, the company also pointed out it aims to use the facility to clone champion horses and drug-sniffing dogs. No exact date was given regarding the facility’s official opening date, but the company expects to begin operation sometime in 2016.

Rick Stella
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Rick became enamored with technology the moment his parents got him an original NES for Christmas in 1991. And as they say…
4 simple pieces of tech that helped me run my first marathon
Garmin Forerunner 955 Solar displaying pace information.

The fitness world is littered with opportunities to buy tech aimed at enhancing your physical performance. No matter your sport of choice or personal goals, there's a deep rabbit hole you can go down. It'll cost plenty of money, but the gains can be marginal -- and can honestly just be a distraction from what you should actually be focused on. Running is certainly susceptible to this.

A few months ago, I ran my first-ever marathon. It was an incredible accomplishment I had no idea I'd ever be able to reach, and it's now going to be the first of many I run in my lifetime. And despite my deep-rooted history in tech, and the endless opportunities for being baited into gearing myself up with every last product to help me get through the marathon, I went with a rather simple approach.

Read more
This bracelet helps you fall asleep faster and sleep longer
woman-in-bed-wearing-twilight-apollo-on-ankle

This content was produced in partnership with Apollo Neuroscience.
Have you been struggling to get the recommended seven hours of sleep? It's always frustrating when you get in bed at a reasonable time, then toss and turn for a hours before you actually sleep. The quality of that sleep is important too. If you're waking up multiple times during the night, you're likely not getting the quality REM cycle sleep that truly rejuvenates your body. If traditional remedies like herbal teas and noise machines just aren't helping, maybe it's time to try a modern solution. Enter the Apollo wearable.

Now we understand being a little skeptical. How can a bracelet on your wrist or ankle affect your sleep patterns? Certainly the answer to a better night's sleep can't be so simple. We considered these same things when we first heard of it. We'll dive deeper into the science behind the Apollo wearable, but suffice it to say that many people have experienced deeper, uninterrupted sleep while wearing one.
A non-conventional approach to better sleep

Read more
The 11 best Father’s Day deals that you can get for Sunday
Data from a workout showing on the screen of the Apple Watch Series 8.

Father's Day is fast approaching and there's still time to buy your beloved Dad a sweet new device to show him how much you love him. That's why we've rounded up the ten best Father's Day tech deals going on right now. There's something for most budgets here, including if you're able to spend a lot on your loved one. Read on while we take you through the highlights and remember to order fast so you don't miss out on the big day.
Samsung Galaxy Tab A8 -- $200, was $230

While it's the Plus version of the Samsung Galaxy Tab A8 that features in our look at the best tablets, the standard variety is still worth checking out. Saving your Dad the need to dig out their laptop or squint at a small phone screen, the Samsung Galaxy Tab A8 offers a large 10.5-inch LCD display and all the useful features you would expect. 128GB of storage means plenty of room for all your Dad's favorite apps as well as games too. A long-lasting battery and fast charging save him the need for a power source too often too.

Read more