Breakdown of EU talks on cloning

30 March 2011

Dramatically, weeks of talks between the European Parliament and the EU Agriculture Council on cloning animals for meat and milk broke down in the early hours of 29th March 2011.

Regrettably, the EU Agriculture Council (and the European Commission) refused to agree to the European Parliament's initial request for a total ban on animal products from clones and their offspring and their subsequent request for mandatory labelling. And so the talks on a new EU Novel Foods Regulation collapsed.

From the Daily Mail cover article:

"After forming a government in coalition with the Liberal Democrats, David Cameron further emphasised his environmental credentials as Prime Minister, promising that his administration would be 'the greenest government ever'.

Instead, we have a Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs which seems to have yielded absolutely to the minority interests of big agribusiness, and is taking food and farming in a direction no one welcomes."

Read the full article >>

The story received front page coverage in the Daily Mail under the uncompromising headline, "Cloned meat betrayal: Unlabelled dairy and beef products to go on sale here after OUR minister sabotages Europe's call for a ban".

Compassion in World Farming's Chief Policy Advisor, Peter Stevenson, is quoted in the article, accusing the British ministers of "shameful hypocrisy" for supporting farming of cloned animals and their offspring  while claiming to champion animal welfare, and he stated, "The Government seems determined to foist food from clones and their offspring on to consumers' plates".

Compassion in World Farming is deeply grateful to the European Parliament, which, throughout the new EU Novel Foods Regulation conciliation procedure, has insisted that the sale of meat and milk from cloned animals and their offspring should be banned on the grounds of animal welfare. Consumers' right to know where the food on their plates has come from was also a major factor behind the European Parliament's stance.

Compassion is also deeply grateful to our supporters. Nearly 3,000 of you wrote to your MEPs (with 14,500 emails being sent in total) urging them to stand firm against cloning. And nearly 2,000 of you wrote to the Agriculture Minister, Jim Paice MP,  urging him to reconsider the UK's support for the sale of food from the offspring of clones. We need you to keep up this pressure and ask you to write again to Jim Paice as a matter of urgency.

Peter Stevenson, Compassion in World Farming's Chief Policy Adviser, said, "The European Commission and the Agriculture Council ran scared of a trade war with the US and chose to ignore reports from their specialist scientific advisers that highlight the animal suffering that is inherent in cloning.

"This debate has become a battle about what kind of future we want for British and European farming. Are we going to move away from factory farming towards an agriculture that respects the well-being of animals and is in tune with nature? Or, are we going to pursue a high tech future that seizes on each new invention that emanates from the biotech laboratories, irrespective of the suffering inflicted on our farm animals?"


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