Tony Hunter Speaker
My take on it all

Is the Cow getting better?

As I’ve said before, if you think the conventional animal agriculture industry is technologically backward, think again! The latest development in the future of animal agriculture is CRISPR embryo-mediated genome editing.

The reason for this research is to raise more male cattle or cattle that “will grow and look like males, regardless of whether they inherit a Y chromosome”. This produces cattle that are “genetically female” but grow like males. This is partly because “male cattle are about 15 percent more efficient at converting feed into weight gain”. So definitely some upside to the research given the resource impact of cattle raising.

What I find most intriguing is that cultivated meat is termed “frankenfood” by cattle industry detractors yet genome editing of animals to improve yields etc. is seen as wonderful. The mental gymnastics required to rationalise this approach boggles the mind!

In the end the best technology should be the one that wins, but don’t think the conventional animal ag industry has no way to improve. The major downside for conventional ag is the long breeding times necessary to see the results of the editing. Alternative products can see their results in anything from days to weeks.

But the popular saying from plantbased advocates that the cow isn’t getting any better needs some careful consideration…………

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