MEPs vote to ban cloning farm animals, cloned food and imports

MEPs have voted on a draft law to ban the cloning of farm animals, their descendants and cloned food, feed and imports in the EU.

MEPs cited high mortality rates at all development stages of cloning and animal welfare and ethical concerns as reasons to ban the practice.

Some 82 MEPs voted in favour of the ban, eight voted against the ban and eight abstained.

Environment Committee Co-rapporteur Renate Sommer said that due to the negative effects on animal welfare, cloning for farming purposes is rejected by a large majority of consumers.

Furthermore, we do not need cloning to ensure meat supplies in the EU. Prohibiting cloning is therefore a matter of European values and principles.

“Consequently, the ban should apply not only to clones themselves but also to their reproductive material (semen and embryos), their descendants and any products derived from them, including imports.

“This is necessary because otherwise we would merely promote cloning in third countries,” she said.

Co-rapporteur law Giulia Moi said that the plan to ban focused on two key points from the outset: protecting the health of EU citizens and consumers and extending the ban to cover the descendants of cloned animals.

The ban on placing animal clones or their offspring on the EU market is a red line for us.

“We are well aware that cloning is allowed in certain third countries that EU trades with, but we cannot allow these products to be placed on the EU market.

“We also want to ensure that cloning of animals would not become a common practice within the EU,” she said.

The committees’ text, changes the form of the legal act from a directive, which EU countries would have had to transpose into their national laws, into a regulation, which would apply directly in all of them.

The MEPs extended the ban to cover all species of animals kept and reproduced for farming purposes, instead of only bovine, ovine, caprine and equine species, as proposed by the Commission.

They also extended the ban to cover the germinal products of animal clones, descendants of animal clones and products derived from them.

Imports

Given that animals are already cloned for farming purposes in certain third countries, the law would make it illegal to import animals from third countries unless the import certificate shows that they are not animal clones or their descendants, the European Parliament said.

Imports of animal germinal products and food and feed of animal origin would also have to be certified as not deriving from animal clones or their descendants, it said.

The report will be put to a vote by Parliament as a whole at the plenary session on September 7 to 9, 2015 in Strasbourg.

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