European Parliament commits to ban the cloning of animals for food production
Today, the European Parliament showed its continued support for a strong ban on the cloning of animals for food production during a successful vote during its plenary session in Strasbourg. Eurogroup for Animals has been calling for the EU to consider the animal welfare implications, ethical and consumer concerns and implement an extensive ban and welcomes this result. Today’s vote confirmed the European Parliament’s commitment to ban this technique in Europe.
In December 2013, the European Commission adopted two proposals on the cloning of animals kept and reproduced for farming purposes and on the placing on the market of food from animal clones. Eurogroup for Animals welcomed the long awaited proposals which call for a ban on cloning, however this legislation contained too many gaps which would allow cloning to continue unchecked against the wishes of Europe’s citizens and which would result in cloning physically taking place in the European Union continuing the many animal health and welfare concerns for the animals involved.
Today, the Members of Parliament supported a ban on the cloning of all farm animals, their descendants and products derived from them, including imports. In addition, it calls for the Directive to be upgraded to a Regulation, which would be easier to enforce. The scope was also extended to include all animals produced for farming purposes. The Report was approved by 529 votes to 120.
Cloning, a technique to reproduce identical animals is very controversial and opposed on ethical, animal welfare and health grounds, due to the many animals that die in the process and the suffering it causes during pregnancy and birth. Scientists agree that the health and welfare of a significant proportion of cloned animals is seriously affected and mortality is considerably higher than with sexually reproduced animals.
“The Commission proposals adopted in 2013 did not go far enough. Today’s vote is a strong signal to the EU that its citizens, represented by the European Parliament, call on the EU to introduce a comprehensive ban on cloning and on the placing on the market of food from clones and their descendants,’’ stated Reineke Hameleers, Director of Eurogroup for Animals
“During the deliberations at EU level, Eurogroup for Animals has been urging the EU to consider the animal welfare implications and consumer concerns and implement this extensive ban. We now call on the EU to stand firm and prevent the sale and import of food from cloned animals and their offspring, respecting the wishes of Europe’s citizens by properly amending the proposed legislation quickly.” said Hameleers. ‘’It is essential that this legislation is finalised as soon as possible and then introduced immediately across the EU,” she concluded.
Cloned animals die younger and suffer more defects than normal animals. Many clones suffer from defects such as contracted tendons, respiratory failure, limb and head deformities, heart disease and kidney problems. Dolly the sheep, the first mammal cloned from an adult cell, had to be put down at the early age of six after developing arthritis and lung disease.
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Today’s vote is a strong signal to the EU that its citizens, represented by the European Parliament, call on the EU to introduce a comprehensive ban on cloning and on the placing on the market of food from clones and their descendants.Reineke Hameleers, Director at Eurogroup for Animals