Much awaited draft legislation on cloning – too weak to protect consumers and animals
Posted on 18/12/2013
Today the Commission has 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 welcomes these long awaited proposals which call for a ban on cloning, however as the legislation stands, there are too many gaps which will allow cloning to continue unchecked against the wishes of Europe’s citizens and which will result in cloning physically taking place in the European Union.
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 proposals only introduce a provisional ban on cloning, and the emphasis is placed on Member states which must introduce legislation to prohibit the cloning of animals and also the placing on the market of animal clones or embryo clones. As far as Eurogroup is concerned the proposals do not go far enough. As they do not ensure that a ban on the cloning of animals for food production, on the import and sale of animal clones, their offspring and food products from animal clones and their offspring as well as semen and embryos from animal clones is introduced immediately across the EU,” said Reineke Hameleers, Director of Eurogroup for Animals.
“During the deliberations at EU level, Eurogroup has been urging the EU to consider the animal welfare implications and consumer concerns and implement this extensive ban. We urge 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,” she added.
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.