The European Parliament (EP) has voted to ban cloning of all farm animals.
In a plenary session on 8 September, the Members of the EP banned not only the cloning of all farm animals, but also the sale of cloned livestock, their offspring and products derived from them, including imports. The ban does not cover cloning for research purposes, or efforts to clone endangered species.
The environment committee co-rapporteur, Renate Sommer said: “The technique of cloning is not fully mature, and in fact, no further progress has been made with it. The mortality rate remains equally high. Many of the animals which are born alive die in the first few weeks, and they die painfully. Should we allow that?”
The legislative report – adopted by 529 votes to 120, with 57 abstentions – strengthens the Commission’s initial proposal from 2013 which would have prohibited the cloning of just five species including cattle, pigs, goats and horses. The EP widened the ban to incorporate all imported meat and milk products from the descendants of cloned animals, and included a call for a certificate system that can guarantee the traceability of the products and ensure that animals are not clones.
“Up to now, we have been able to import reproductive material from third countries. We are washing our hands letting others do the dirty work. We want to ban comprehensively. Not just the use of cloning techniques but the imports of reproductive material, clones and their descendants. Traceability is possible. There are pedigree books, breeding books, stock books available. I'd like to ask the European Commission to rethink this whole thing. Sometimes, politics have to set the limits,” said Ms Sommer.
The report converts the legal act into a regulation, which has to be applied directly by all member states. The co-rapporteurs will now start negotiations with the EU Council to finalise the law.