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China Will Start Cloning Cattle to Meet Rising Beef Demands

Two cloned ox are displayed after a presTwo cloned ox are displayed after a pres
Two cloned ox are displayed after a press conference in Japan to announce the successful cloning of an ox that died in 1993.Photo by STR/AFP via Getty Images

A commercial animal cloning center is currently being built in China to help meet the country’s rapidly rising beef demands.

According to a press release by BoyaLife, a global leading technology company, the plant will be located in the northern Chinese port city of Tianjin in a government-sponsored business-development park known as the Tianjin Economic and Technological Development Area.

The $31 million investment is expected to begin operations in the first half of 2016. The plant will start by producing 100,000 cattle embryos per year and eventually work its way up to 1 million. It will be the largest cloning facility in the world, complete with a gene storage area and a museum.

Last month Fortune reported that China’s beef demand has increased steadily over the past few decades. Rabobank expects that it will continue to increase and anticipates that by 2025 the country will consume 2.2 million more tons of beef than it does now.

BoyaLife writes that Chinese farmers are having a difficult time meeting high beef demands. If this venture is successful, it could take that pressure off of them or, more likely, put many out of business.

In 2008, in anticipation of cloning technology being used for commercial purposes, the Food and Drug Administration ruled that food products derived from cloned animals are safe enough to enter the U.S. However, the agency did not mandate that food producers label their products as having derived from cloned animals. There could be backlash from consumers if these products reach the U.S., especially considering that genetically modified foods have been such a hot-button issue.