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China grows 6 billion cockroaches a year

China grows cockroaches on an industrial scale. Each cockroach farm is the size of two football fields. But who needs cockroaches and why, especially in such quantities?

Many people consider cockroaches to be disgusting insects, but for the Chinese pharmaceutical industry, they have proven to be a good business, because the country is widely believed that cockroaches are good for health. Roasted cockroaches in China and other Asian countries have been eaten for centuries, but now these insects are bred on special giant farms.

In the city of Xichang in the south-west of the country, one of the pharmaceutical companies grows six billion cockroaches annually.

Artificial Intelligence

Cockroaches are bred in a building with an area of two football fields, writes the South China Morning Post. Inside are rows of shelves on which ditches with food and water lie. The building is warm, humid and dark.

Cockroaches are not only eaten, but they are also often used in Chinese medicine

Inside the building, cockroaches enjoy complete freedom and can run anywhere they want and breed. But the building itself is almost hermetic, and access to it is strictly limited for people. The cockroaches of this farm will never see the light of day. An artificial intelligence system has been installed here, which continuously measures indicators according to more than 80 parameters — from temperature and humidity to the presence of genetic mutations in the cockroaches themselves and how these mutations affect the growth and development of specific individuals.

The purpose of these measurements is to ensure that the cockroaches reproduce as quickly as possible.

The medicine

When the cockroaches reach “mature age”, they are caught, ground, processed and created a tincture, which is used in traditional Chinese medicine.

From these insects make “miraculous medicine”

The tincture smells of fish, it is sweet and is called "Kenshin". It supposedly helps in the treatment of gastroenteritis, stomach ulcers, and pulmonary diseases.

This is just a miracle cure. It cures a number of diseases and does it faster than other drugs.

Liu Yisheng - Shandong Agricultural University

Cheap alternative

“The Chinese population is aging,” says Professor Liu. “We are trying to develop new medicines for the elderly that are cheaper than Western ones.”

Experts warn of possible catastrophic consequences if cockroaches manage to escape from the farm
Although the Chinese government supports the very idea of creating cockroach farms and the fact that cockroach tinctures are often used in hospitals, not everyone considers this the right thing.

“This is not a miracle cure, it cannot magically cure people,” says a researcher at the Chinese Medical Academy in Beijing, who wished to remain anonymous.

Other experts warn that the concentration of such a huge number of insects in one place is simply dangerous.

“It will be a disaster if billions of cockroaches suddenly find themselves free, whether by mistake of any of the employees or as a result of an earthquake,” warns Professor Zhu Chaodong from the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

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