Former Taiwan president’s unfulfilled dream of domestic Wagyu beef lives on

Date: 2020.08.17

Following former Taiwanese President Lee Teng-hui's (李登輝) death on Thursday (July 30), Taiwan’s agriculture chief has vowed to realize the late head of state's unfulfilled dream of transforming the country's beef industry.

Lee, who had earned degrees in agricultural economics in Taiwan, Japan, and the U.S., had been committed to revolutionizing the island country’s beef sector by breeding Wagyu — Japanese beef cattle known for their prime quality meat.

Lee discovered that 19 head of cattle on Taipei’s Yangmingshan had been certified to be Tajima (但馬牛) cows, a bloodline of the Japanese Black breed believed to have been exported to Taiwan during Japanese colonial rule, wrote UDN. The cattle were transported to a farm in Hualien for cultivation.

According to Chen Bao-ji (陳保基), former minister of the Council of Agriculture (MOA), Lee had planned to use them to develop a Taiwanese breed of Wagyu — or Yuanxing (源興牛) — by means of molecular breeding technologies. The effort enlisted expertise from National Taiwan University, National Ilan University, and Japan, Chen said.

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