Touch the Soil News #243
Writing news about the food chain is difficult these days because there seem to be no boundaries – when it comes to food and technology.
Chinese biotechnology firm Boyalife and South Korea’s Sooam Biotech are teaming up to create an industrial-scale cloning facility in Tianjin, China. Tianjin is one of the world’s largest cities with a population in excess of 15 million.
The enterprise has received the blessings of the Chinese government and a lot of cursing in Chinese social media. One such social media snippet called for the feeding of cloned beef to Chinese officials and their families for at least 10 years before experimenting on the larger Chinese population.
Part of the plan of the cloning factory is to produce 1 million cloned beef calves. The company says that this can help Chinese beef farmers be more successful.
Which cow is which? Who owns the genetics? Can humans survive on meat whose genetics are extremely limited?
How does a beef farmer become more successful if the genetic diversity of beef animals has been obliterated? The cloning factory assumption is that a superior cloned animal – that produces more beef – is more profitable. Nothing has been said if the premium a beef farmer must pay, plus shipping, justifies the additional weight gains.
Beef farming in America does pay a lot of attention to genetics, but if a beef farmer has no genetic diversity in his herd, he becomes a puppet of the cloning factory who now owns the genetics.
Following is a satirical news cast discussing the Chinese cloning effort.