China is about to open the world's biggest cloning facility to help with the animal shortage in the country. The facility, worth about $31 million USD, proposes to clone sniffer dogs, pets and racehorses, but its main business will be cattle reproduction.
The factory will include a 15,000-square-meter lab, an animal center, a gene bank and an exhibition hall, according to the Telegraph.
The plan is a partnership between Boyalife and Sooam Biotech, which already has a center that clones dogs. The duo expects to produce 100,000 cattle embryos a year with an eye to increasing that to one million.
The need is there, said board chairman of Boyalife Group Xu Xiaochun, as farmers in China are struggling to produce enough beef cattle to meet demand.
"We are going [down] a path that no one has ever travelled," he told the Guardian. "We are building something that has not existed in the past."
He also told the newspaper that the project could rescue endangered species from the brink of extinction.
Construction has already begun on the main building, and scientists are expected to begin their work in 2016, according to Business Insider.
In China scientists have already been cloning sheep, cattle and pigs since 2000 and those behind the project believe this is the next step. "We want it to be modern, we want it to be cutting edge. We want it to represent the future," Xu told the Guardian.
The cloning of animals for farming was banned in Europe in September because of animal welfare concerns, The Telegraph reports.