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EU Draws up Animal Cloning Options

by 5m Editor
13 April 2012, at 8:57am

EU - The EU has begun a process to draw up new rules to govern the cloning of farm animals.

The Commission has drawn up five policy options, the most extreme of which would suspend the use of clones and their offspring and prohibit the use of food from clones, offspring and their descendants.

The Commission is also considering labelling products that come from a descendent of a clone and introducing strict traceability requirements for imports. However, it acknowledged this would be difficult and costly to put in place and could have significant consequences for trade.

A final option would be to maintain the current rules where the creation of cloned animals and embryos is not permitted in the EU, but the progeny of animals cloned abroad may be imported. A legislative proposal on animal cloning is expected in Spring 2013.

Catherine McLaughlin, NFU animal health and welfare advisor, said: “We are concerned that some of the options put forward by the Commission are more political than scientific and would disadvantage UK farmers in the global market place.

“Currently the creation of cloned animals and embryos is not permitted in the EU but the progeny of animals cloned abroad may be imported. It is important to remember that food from these animals is safe. Both the UK Food Standards Agency (FSA) and the European Food Safety Authority have concluded in independent studies that there are no food safety risks posed by the products of offspring from cloned animals.

“We support the most scientifically sound options for future legislation in light of the FSA and EFSA opinion that there are no food safety issues with the offspring from cloned animals.

“Public confidence is an absolute priority for our farmer members and as an industry we must be guided by consumer preference. However, these preferences need to be informed by balanced, scientifically-based research and assessment which is why we believe it is important to keep the door open on this type of technology.”