Cloning of farm animals

European countries are discussing whether to adopt a single policy on farm animal cloning for the single market. Since all EU laws need the approval both of national ministers and elected MEPs, the European Parliament will be voting next week on a proposal to ban the cloning of farm animals.

Labour MEPs are of the opinion that this proposal, made initially by the European Commission, should go much further and completely ban the use of cloning in animal production for farm purposes of all animal species. We think it should take the form of a regulation (which applies across all EU countries). We also support a ban on importing germinal products from cloned animals and their descendants, as well as a ban on importing food products from cloned animals and their descendants.

We believe that such a ban is necessary, in line with expectations of the public, concerns about welfare conditions of cloned animals, threats to biodiversity and the current situation in the European agricultural sector — which does not need to resort to cloning in animal reproduction.

We also want to ensure that all animals imported into the EU are proven not to be clones or descendants of clones, and that no food or germinal products derived from clones or their offspring are imported into the EU. We expect the European Commission and the authorities of member countries to enforce this ban across the entire EU single market.

Importantly, banning cloned animals, offspring and derived products from the EU market would mean that our external trading partners would need to introduce high standards for traceability and labelling similar to those which have long been implemented within the EU. In effect, this will benefit EU farmers, food producers and consumers by reinforcing the global outreach of Europe’s leading animal welfare and food standards. Furthermore, with a traceability and labelling requirement, the EU would be able to bring significant pressure to bear on our partners in any trade negotiations.

Indeed, it was Labour MEP Jude Kirton-Darling who led the work of the international trade committee on this legislation. She secured amendments in the committee to make the proposed temporary ban permanent, and to broaden it to clones’ offspring, while ensuring that this would be compatible with the EU’s obligations in the World Trade Organisation.

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