With a ban on imports of Western food products contributing to skyrocketing food prices, Russian President Vladimir Putin has called for the country’s agricultural sector to boost production. But experts are skeptical that production can ramp up in time to make a difference. As former economics minister Andrei Nechayev told me last October, “You can’t speed up biology. It takes a certain amount of time to make a new cow.”
But what if you could simply make a better cow? Government newspaper Rossiiskaya Gazeta, via the Moscow Times, reports that breeders in the southern Russian republic of Kalmykia have developed an “anti-crisis cow” that “doesn’t need to be fed in the winter and can survive periods of not eating at all.”
The cow, known as the “Aita” or “excellent,” “can live for a long time on its own internal fat. Yes, it might lose weight, but it will still give birth and feed its young,” according to its breeder.
I’m skeptical of the “anti-crisis” cow. The story’s light of specifics and this has an air of Soviet-style scientific propaganda around it. But with beef prices up more than 20 percent last year, it’s not surprising that consumers might be hoping for a miracle cow.