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Response to the FSA statement on cloned meat and milk

In a statement on 25 November 2010, Food Standards Agency Chief Scientist Andrew Wadge said that the Advisory Committee on Novel Foods and Processes (ACNFP) "has confirmed that meat and milk from cloned cattle and their offspring shows no substantial difference to conventionally produced meat and milk and therefore is unlikely to present a food safety risk."

Peter Stevenson, Compassion in World Farming's Chief Policy Advisor, today responded:

"Cloned meat and milk may be safe to eat - in truth it may be too early to tell - but for the animals involved, it's a welfare disaster.

"Many clones die in the early stages of life from heart failure, breathing difficulties and defective immune systems. The European Food Safety Authority has concluded that the health and welfare of a significant proportion of clones are "adversely affected, often severely and with a fatal outcome"."

Welfare of the offspring of cloned animals

Compassion believes that we need to look at what kind of animals cloning will produce for our farms. Cloning will be used to make multiple copies of the highest yielding cows. Yet research shows that traditional selective breeding has already produced cows with such high milk yields that many suffer from major health problems including lameness and mastitis.

The pressures on these cows are so great that many are utterly worn out after just 3 milk cycles and are prematurely culled. The cloning of the highest yielding cows will lead to even more animals suffering from severe health and welfare problems.

Public concern

People increasingly recognise that we need to move to a more sustainable farming which respects animals as sentient beings - cloning is taking us in completely the wrong direction to a high tech agriculture that perpetuates factory farming.

"Britain's consumers have shown how much they care about animal welfare by abandoning eggs from caged hens . Compassion believes that if they knew the hidden welfare horror story behind cloning, they would roundly reject products from cloned animals or their offspring. The Food Standards Agency is riding roughshod over citizens' concerns."

The EU is due to make a decision on cloning for food in the coming months. The European Parliament has called for a complete ban on cloning but, regrettably, the Coalition Government has refused to come out against cloning. In September, over 9,000 people signed a letter we delivered to David Cameron calling for the Government to support a ban on cloning.

We now urge the Defra Secretary of State, Caroline Spelman MP, to think again and throw Britain's weight behind an EU ban on the cloning of farm animals and on the sale of meat and milk from clones and their offspring.

If you would like to contribute towards our ongoing campaign against cloning and all forms of factory farming, please do consider making a donation today.

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