Home » Farmer in the USA clones dead sheep and earns $550,000

Farmer in the USA clones dead sheep and earns $550,000

by admin
Farmer in the USA clones dead sheep and earns $550,000

An Argali sheep was cloned in Montana. Wirestock/iStock via Getty Images Plus

A Montana rancher has been charged with illegally selling offspring of a cloned sheep across state lines.

According to court documents, the retail value of the animals transported is between 250,000 and 550,000 US dollars (between 230,000 and 505,000 euros).

The hybrid offspring are said to have been sold to game farms, possibly for hunting.

This is a machine translation of an article from our US colleagues at Business Insider. It was automatically translated and checked by a real editor.

Arthur “Jack” Schubarth, an 80-year-old rancher from Montana, had a lucrative business going until authorities got wind of it. Over the last five years, Schubarth has sold sheep for tens of thousands of dollars.

There is nothing illegal about selling sheep at inflated prices – unless the animals are Marco Polo-Argali sheep or, as in Schubarth’s case, Marco Polo-Argali hybrids.

Marco Polo Argali sheep are native to Central Asia and are considered threatened under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. Montana law prohibits the importation, possession and sale of these animals.

On Tuesday, Schubarth pleaded guilty to the charges. His sentencing is scheduled for July. He faces up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 (230,000 euros) for each of the two charges against him.

Read too

A pigeon accused of spying for China has finally been released after eight months

The United States has laws protecting wildlife

It all started in 2013 when an unnamed party illegally imported Marco Polo Argali sheep parts from Kyrgyzstan into the United States, according to court documents. Shortly thereafter, Schubarth is said to have gotten his hands on some of these sheep parts and in 2015 made a deposit of $4,200 (3,850 euros) to produce cloned sheep embryos from the remains of the dead Argalis.

See also  Fewer meetings, more efficiency: in this way companies become "zero meetings". The Libin manager: "More health and productivity"

In May 2017, a pure Argali sheep was born from one of these cloned embryos. Schubarth called it Montana Mountain King. Mountain King was supposed to be Schubarth’s golden goose in a lucrative business plan to raise larger, more attractive sheep for (mostly) Texas hunting ranches, court documents show.

In 2018, Schubarth harvested Mountain King’s sperm, which he used to artificially inseminate bighorn sheep (female sheep) on his farm to produce hybrid offspring.

In the years that followed, Schubarth, along with several unnamed participants, illegally transported dozens of ewes and their hybrid offspring across state borders. According to court documents, they allegedly forged veterinary certificates and lied that the sheep were a legally approved species.

Read too

Pregnant without a male: Crocodile has achieved a maiden birth for the first time

Tens of thousands of dollars worth of sheep

Marco Polo, a subspecies of Argali sheep, is an “almost mythical animal” prized by trophy hunters for its large, spiral-shaped horns, naturalist George Schaller told in 2006 NPR.

Schubarth’s hybrids were a mix of the Marco Polo and other bighorn sheep. Because of their size and huge horns, they commanded higher prices on game farms than other species. According to the Statement from the Ministry of Justice Schubarth sold 24 hybrids in 2020 for $46,200 (42,400 euros).

Cloning the dead sheep is not where Schubarth broke the law because there are no regulations on animal cloning in the U.S., according to Joyce Tischler, a professor at the Center for Animal Law Studies at Lewis & Clark Law School , speaking to Business Insider.

It was about illegal transport across state borders (and lying and falsifying official documents). On March 12, Schubarth pleaded guilty to violating the Lacey Act, the Justice Department statement said. The law prohibits the trade in wild animals that have been acquired illegally.

See also  Mundomar: A Haven for Conservation, Animal Welfare, Research, and Dolphin Therapy

According to court documents, the retail value of the wild animals transported was between $250,000 and $550,000 (between €230,000 and €505,000).

“The danger I see is that if this becomes popular, other people will want to import Argali sheep illegally to make money,” said Joyce Tischler, a professor at the Center for Animal Law Studies at Lewis & Clark Law School.

Read too

A 13-year-old found a 5-million-year-old fossil and now a new species of walrus has been named after him

How to clone a sheep

Although none of the Justice Department’s charges relate to the cloning of illegally imported sheep parts, the process remains controversial in some countries.

In 2015 ban The European Union banned farm animal cloning, citing animal welfare concerns. One of the biggest fears was that mammalian cloning had a low success rate hat. It’s unclear what Schubarth’s success rate was, although court documents only mention a single cloned animal – Montana Mountain King.

Dolly the sheep was the first successfully cloned mammal. Matthew Polak/Sygma/Sygma via Getty Images

Read too

These dog breeds live the longest – and die the earliest

Some improvements have been made since the birth of Dolly, the world‘s first cloned mammal, in 1996. However, it is still a complicated procedure that requires veterinary expertise and sheep surgery.

The most difficult part is placing the cloned embryos into a live ewe to carry them to term, said Alison Van Eenennaam, a biotechnologist at the University of California at Davis who was not involved in the case.

An expert makes an incision, implants the embryo into the uterus and sews the sheep back up. “This is a real scene,” said Van Eenennaam, “it’s not a trivial thing to do.”

The sheep must be in the correct phase of its reproductive cycle to maintain the pregnancy, Van Eenennaam said.

See also  now the emergency is strep

Once Schubarth had the male clone, Mountain King, it was a simple process to create a family of hybrids. He could easily use King’s semen to artificially inseminate ewes without the need for surgical implantation.

Read too

That’s why China suddenly censors a post about giraffes

Cloning is not the real problem here

The agreement requires Schubarth to quarantine all clones and offspring. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service may also decide to castrate the animals, according to court documents.

Gregory Kaebnick, a senior scientist at the Hastings Center who studies bioethics, is not concerned that the cloned sheep would impact wild species or alter ecosystems because they appear to have been bred for hunting. But he said this could be a problem in the future.

“Some of these technologies are getting to a level that is sometimes called DIY or garage bio,” he said, “people are trying to hack genomes in their basements, so to speak.”

A scientist at the Reproductive Technology Center in Dubai is working on cloning camels. Rula Rouhana/Reuters

Read too

A woman in China bequeaths 2.5 million euros to her pets – so her children go away empty-handed

It’s not entirely unreasonable to think about how this might one day impact wild genomes, Kaebnick said. Van Eenennaam agreed that the genetic component in this case is not particularly concerning. The success rate in cloning livestock is still relatively low.

However, she pointed out that the importation of tissue from non-native species could pose a risk to biosecurity if they carry diseases.

“It is the worst nightmare,” she said, “that material is being transported without the appropriate permits just because it poses a potential threat to the agricultural industry.”

Schubarth’s lawyers did not respond to Business Insider US’s request for comment.

Read the original article in English here.

You may also like

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More

Privacy & Cookies Policy