EC to seek suspension of cloning animals for food

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, October 2010:
(Actual press date November 3.)

BRUSSELS–European Union commissioner in charge of health and
consumer policy John Dalli on October 19, 2010 announced that the
European Commission, in its capacity as advisory body to the
European Parliament, “will propose a temporary suspension of animal
cloning for food production in the EU.”
Explained a prepared brief, “The Commission also plans to
suspend temporarily the use of cloned farm animals and the marketing
of food from clones. All temporary measures will be reviewed after
five years. The establishment of a traceability system for imports
of reproductive materials for clones, such as semen and embryos of
clones, is also envisaged. The system will allow farmers and
industry to set up a database with the animals that would emerge from
these reproductive materials.”


Dalli said the suspension of cloning by meat, egg, and
dairy producers “is a response to calls from the European Parliament
and member states to launch a specific EU policy on this sensitive
issue. I believe that the temporary suspension constitutes a
realistic and feasible solution to respond to the present welfare
concerns.”
The proposal will not suspend animal cloning for uses other
than food, such as research, conservation of endangered species,
or the use of animals in producing pharmaceuticals.
“In the Commission’s view,” said the prepared statement,
“a selective mixture of measures,” accompanied by review after five
years, “will sufficiently address animal welfare concerns without
introducing unnecessary and unjustifiable restrictions.”
The proposal “acknowledges the challenges posed by animal
welfare issues and takes into consideration the ethical facet of
cloning,” the prepared statement continued. “It also notes that
there is no scientific evidence confirming food safety concerns
regarding foods obtained from cloned animals or their offspring,”
the statement added.
“Food from cloned animals is safe. In fact, the scientific
opinion is that it cannot be differentiated in any way from food from
normally bred animals. The issue is animal welfare,” Dalli told
media.
“The five-year moratorium proposed by the Commission would
cover imports of live clones from outside the 27-nation EU, but
imports of embryos and semen from clones would be allowed,” reported
Charlie Dunmore of Reuters, “provided that operators follow
proposed traceability rules. That means EU producers would also be
free to sell food products derived from the offspring of clones,
provided they import the necessary genetic material from the U.S. or
elsewhere.”
Responded Eurogroup for Animals director Sonja Van Tichelen,
“We do not accept the Commission’s position that it would be
impossible to enforce a ban that includes the offspring of cloned
animals, as (other) meat traceability systems are already in place.”
The European Parliament in September 2008 passed a resolution
favoring a total ban on cloning, then asked the EC to produce a
report on cloning, which Dalli earlier in 2010 pledged to complete
by the end of the year.
The EC plans to formally propose to ban livestock cloning in
2011, spokesperson Frederic Vincent told reporters after Dalli spoke.
“We believe that our proposal will be compatible with World Trade
Organization rules,” Vincent said.

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