Dr. James West, associate professor of medicine at Vanderbilt University and chief science officer of CAG, has developed a way to produce white Angus cattle, an innovation he asserts will double the world’s production of beef in the next ten years. The reason being: an increased tolerance to heat.
“Black angus are by far the most productive breed of cattle that exists,” said West. “They grow to 1,400 lbs in maybe 13 months.”
The problem is, he continued, Black Angus don’t handle heat and humidity well, namely because their heavier coats are black or dark red, two colors that absorb a massive amount of solar energy and raise the cattle’s body temperature to dangerous levels.
Because of this, farmers in high-beef-production areas like Brazil and Southeast Asia tend to use Brahma (or Nellore cattle) instead, which are shorthaired and white, making them more heat resistant.
“Brahma will get to almost the same size as Angus, producing the same amount of beef. The problem is, it takes them two years to do it, while consuming the same amount of food,” West explained.
His only reservation is the public’s general distrust of food that’s been engineered in a lab. While creating the white Angus did involve removing certain genes from the breed and adding in the gene for a white coat and black skin from Silver Galloway cattle, and the gene for short hair from Senepol cattle, West reassures that what he and his researchers did was not genetic modification. Instead, they simply achieved the same results that breeding would have, minus 30 to 40 years of waiting and a bevy of inbreeding problems—something the cattle industry is currently struggling with.
Read full, original article: Are cloned white Angus cattle the answer to world hunger?