Bill Gates invests $40 Million to engineer a Super Cow. The Microsoft ultra-billionaire has bought into a plan to take genes from British cattle and infuse them with DNA from various African breeds in order to create a cow that is able to survive and thrive just about anywhere on the planet. (1)
British Holstein-Friesians are capable of producing approximately 40 pints of milk per day on average whereas the African breed is only able to produce about three and a half. The benefits of the African cows are that they are able to withstand extreme heat and they eat far less food.
Gates is quoted as saying: “Livestock is magical. You can sell the output and that’s money for school fees. You can keep the output and that’s diet diversification.”
“For more than a billion people living in the poorest countries, agriculture and livestock are a lifeline out of poverty. The science and research being led by the great minds here in Edinburgh are making huge strides in improving the health and productivity of livestock.”
Edinburgh University scientists will also use specialized software that will develop vaccines to save cows that have been afflicted with disease in tropical locations in research that has been partly funded by the Department for International Development.
Gates, worth an estimated $90 billion dollars, went on to say: “The impact per dollar is super-high in this area.”
“You can have a cow that is four times as productive with the same survivability. We could justify this on economic or health impacts – but we get both.”
Gates explains how his donation will provide some relief for those who live in extreme poverty in famine-stricken areas of the world:
“Chickens in Africa typically lay a couple of eggs, but if you give them the right breeding stock you could get that up to 10 to 12. Likewise in milk, the difference is even greater. The kind of cash that a household can earn, the amount of extra protein to improve their diets – this is very important to families in Africa.”