An Inclusive Litany

5/22/02

The Wall Street Journal, May 22, 2002, reports on a proposal to address severe milk shortages in Cuba by cloning Ubre Blanca, a record-setting cow that once produced 241 pounds of milk in a single day. The cow died in 1985, but Cuban scientists have preserved its eggs.
Building a better cow has long been an obsession of Mr. Castro's. In a 1987 speech, he said super cows could be achieved under a socialist system, where scientists and the government both pull in the same direction. "If another Ubre Blanca is found or a prodigious descendant of Ubre Blanca capable of producing cows giving 100 quarts [a day], what can prevent us from immediately applying that practice ... to all the cows of the country?" he asked.

That same year, Mr. Castro proposed his scientists shrink cows to the size of dogs, says Boris Luis Garcia, a molecular biologist who worked for three years at the Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology. The idea: solve the scarcity of milk in the cities by providing families with miniature milk-cows they could keep in their apartments.

The pint-sized beasts would graze on grass grown in drawers under fluorescent lights. "That was what Castro had planned for us," says Mr. Garcia, who now lives in Spain. Nothing ever came of it.

No comments: