EU told to ban food from animal clones

MEPs have called on the EU to ban all food from cloned animals and their descendants, despite widespread acceptance of the technology across many parts of the world.

There are currently no specific EU rules to allow or ban products from cloned animals, but a vote in the European Parliament yesterday (Wednesday, July 7) found a majority of members in favour of an outright ban.

The vote will heap further pressure on the European Commission to take action.

“MEPs have been calling for proper regulation for years, it is high time the Commission listened to the European Parliament and citizens on this issue,” said Kartika Liotard MEP, the author of the proposals.

She said cloned animals suffered disproportionately highly from illnesses, malformations and premature death and urged swift new measures.  

Scottish Conservative MEP Struan Stevenson said tougher rules were needed on imported meat and semen in particular.

He said countries such as America, Canada, Argentina and Brazil were using cloning technology and were major exporters of meat and semen to the EU.    

“We currently import over £2 billion worth of bovine meat from the US alone every year.

“Because they have no regulatory controls on cloning in America, some of this meat could be from first generation cloned animals. We have no way of knowing.”

He said the same applied to semen where the EU imported £30 million of semen which could have come from cloned livestock.

“If there is no scientific test available to test for cloned meat then all imports should be clearly labelled ‘This meat may have come from a cloned animal’. This would enable EU consumers to make their own choice on what to buy,” added Mr Stevenson.

If the European Council does not accept the Parliament’s second-reading position, an agreement will be sought through the ‘conciliation’ procedure in September.

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