China’s venture on animal cloning - Disaster or a Boon?

China’s venture on animal cloning – Disaster or a Boon?


- China is on a mission to build the largest animal cloning centre that would produce one million cattle embryos annually along with improvising greatly on the quality of produce. It is going to be a hefty $31.3 million venture in a government sponsored business development park. Cloning has always been a controversial subject in many a ways and this huge venture is about to draw more debates than ever.

- The centre about to be set in Tianjin would clone high-grade beef cattle, sniffer and pet dogs, racehorses, and non-human primates. According to press reports from China, they have been struggling to keep up with the rising demands for beef cattle in market and this venture is their solution to this problem.

- Keeping in view the controversies surrounding food safety issues in China, a cloning industry to provide for the food demands is a skeptical notion on its own. Let’s consider the advantages and drawbacks of animal cloning in China.


1. Health issues : Cloning in China has been reserved for scientific researches and study and never for the food industry. People have every right to be skeptical because there have been prior cases of food safety negligence in China that have led to hazardous health issues. Commercializing animal cloning and using the meat of cloned animals in the food industry cannot be seen as a good attempt to meet the demands in market.

2. The doubt : The animal cloning pioneer Woo-suk Hwang was convicted for illegal means of funding and immoral practices. The cloning industry in China will have to bear the results of connections with Hwang and this is bound to create suspicion amongst people regarding consumption of food from the cloning industry. People have started showing displeasure over the reports of the opening of this industry. A few comments over social media have clearly stated that they would never be sure of eating meat from the cloning industry unless the leaders and their family consume the same for years.

3. Not for consumption : Even in US after the confirmation from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to sell meat and dairy products from cloned animals, they were reserved only to raise the quality of herds and not for the food industry. Meat from cloned livestock are called “novel foods” and cannot be sold without special permission. China is starting the larger cloning industry to cater to the growing beef demands without calculating the risks.

4. Unethical : European Food Safety authority might have clarified that there is no difference between the meat and dairy products of cloned animals as compared to natural animals, but also stated the concern about the cloning industry creating “animal health and welfare problems.” In the cloning process, large number of animals die at various stages of growth which is not a very humanitarian way as being stressed by Chinese reporters.

5. Mutation : Altering laws of nature to make profits have always has its cons. Genetic mutations is one of the bad effects of cloning. The clones could either be weak or have hazardous properties that could not be determined since it cannot be known which of the somatic cells could lead to mutation.


1. Quality determination : The quality of meat and dairy products is easier to be pre-determined in the process of cloning. Copies of good quality livestock will produce better and most preferred meat and dairy products for the country. Low quality food has been a concern in China for long and this could be meted out if cloning is practiced for food industry.

2. Extinction : Extinct species could have been saved if this practiced was started earlier. There are many endangered species at the verge of extinction and nothing is done about saving it at large scale. Recreation of extinct species is also possible with the process of cloning if scientists are to be believed. It would be something that has never happened but if the cloning industry is encouraged, researches and studies could one day take us back to where our favourite animals were living and breathing.

3. Demands : There is high rise in demand for beef cattle in China and quality is also not satisfactory. With the world’s largest population to feed, the government had to take an initiative which it is about to take with the opening of the largest cloning industry. Scientific studies have always been going around and it is about time that the studies are taken further to provide for the food industry, which if experts are to be believed won’t be any different from the meat and dairy of naturally bred animals.

4. Genetic engineering : More wide researches on animal cloning would promote studies, knowledge and findings on genetic engineering. This would promote researches on treatment of genetic diseases that are at the early stage of development. Ensuring healthy and long life would be a possibility if knowledge is allowed to be expanded beyond the unknown and untrodden paths. Keeping knowledge and studies confined to a particular genre would do no good to the findings.

5. Diversity regained : When a species becomes extinct, it has an overall harmful effect on the environment. Getting the lost species back would rebuild the diversity on earth that are supposed to be nature’s original plan before man messed up with his ideas of expansion.’

6. Advanced technologies : We are still stuck with the original process of cloning that killed and had deformities. With constant improvement and development of technologies, it can be assured that bigger industries work according to the ethical rules as determined and comply with the food safety rules.


- Cloning will continue to remain a controversial topic until it is assured that animals would not be exploited in the process and that deformities and casualties could be avoided. But the only way to assure improvisation is to let these researches continue.

- China has its own trouble of providing food to the largest population. It cannot stand still while demands rise and imports continue to burn holes in their pockets. China must only make sure that the safety rules are kept in mind and the doubts in the minds of their people is addressed before taking the big leap of faith.

- Unless absolutely required, which would be the case with Chinese population, cloning will continue to be unethical and skeptical for the rest of the world. We are not going to want a living and breathing example from the fiction movies of “Jurassic Park” and “Resident Evil.”
Post your comment


  • RE: China’s venture on animal cloning – Disaster or a Boon? -Deepa Kaushik (12/04/15)
  • Cloning in itself is a disaster for the environment. The term cloning is the activity induced by human brains to go inverse of nature. The ecological system gets greatly disturbed by the cloning. It could be any species that is set to be cloned, but that definitely has its impact on the food chain. When any one of the slab or the level in the food chain observes a steep increase, it impacts the subsequent levels above and below them creating an imbalance in the ecology.

    China in its initiative of animal cloning has observed only one side of the coin. Any such initiative should be analysed properly before getting them to action. Cloning the animals for meeting the market demand lays only one part of the story. They have invented a measure to meet the market demand and supply of cattle or any other animal species. But they failed to analyse the expected feed to that cloned animal species. And if they are planning to rear and clone some more animals to meet the food demand of these animals, then it would greatly affect the biosphere in every manner.

    The food chain does not only depend on the number of animals in the specific species found globally, but it also depends on their demographic distribution. Cloning the animals on a larger scale would lead to the widespread devastation of the biosphere as the cloned animals would require per unit space and food and also the demand of oxygen would increase. The simple technique of cloning might gradually result in depletion of available oxygen and increase in the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

    As well understood, the cloned animals are not an appropriate stuff to be used for edible purpose in the food industry. Again such a huge cloning project would definitely lead to mutation at some or the other point which would be no different that playing with the nature and its existence. Precisely, a deep introspection to this matter would only give the result of China’s cloning venture to be a huge disaster for the nature.