MEPs vote Wednesday on toughening EU cloning ban

By Keith Nuthall

- Last updated on GMT

MEPs are expected to support the ban which would include the cloning of farm animals
MEPs are expected to support the ban which would include the cloning of farm animals

Related tags: European union, Livestock

A joint meeting of the European Parliament environment and agriculture committees will on Wednesday (17 June) vote on proposals to toughen two draft laws to ban the cloning of farm animals and importing products from cloned livestock within the European Union (EU).

MEPs will debate the duration of a ban and exceptions, such as for research purposes. They are expected to support a ban and refer the proposals to a vote by the full European Parliament.

The ban would be based "on ethical, human health and animal welfare grounds",​ said a parliament note. Proposals from German Christian Democrat MEP Renate Sommer and Italian Eurosceptic MEP Giulia Moi would, said a report from the two politicians, "welcome the prohibition of the cloning technique put forward by the [European] Commission…".

However, they argued that the proposal "falls short of properly addressing the valid concerns that have been repeatedly expressed by… citizens and by the European Parliament"​. In particular, it said, the Commission "did not include any specific provisions on food from the descendants of cloned animals, nor any measures as regards the reproductive material from clones and their descendants."​ As a result, these two MEPs are proposing restrictions in these areas for EU meat and livestock producers and importers.

Notably, the committees will vote on proposals to ban "the import and the placing on the market of the descendants of animal clones, and of the germinal products and of the food coming from animal clones and their descendants".​ That, said the MEPs’ report would address consumer concerns regarding the "possible long-term effects of the consumption of food (such as meat) from the descendants of animal clones, on which scientific data is still sparse".

As a result, the MEPs suggested that "mandatory traceability"​ on supply chains of is essential, as "the prohibition would be jeopardised if it is impossible to trace animal clones, their descendants and the corresponding products".​ So, imports of live animals, germinal products and food imported into the EU should be "subject to at least equivalent identification conditions and traceability requirements as those applicable in the EU",​ proposed Sommer and Moi.

Another amendment would insist that the bans apply to all farmed animals, and not just bovine, porcine, ovine, caprine and equine species, as proposed by the Commission. The MEPs also want the bans to be written into an EU regulation, which must be carried out word for word by member states, rather than a directive, which gives them some flexibility over interpretation.

Related topics: Meat

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