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UK Government opposes ban on cloned meat and milk

UK leads opposition to European Parliament's proposed ban on sale of meat and milk from clones and their offspring.

Compassion in World Farming is shocked at the shameful hypocrisy of the UK Government, which claims to give a high priority to animal welfare, yet currently takes the lead in opposing the European Parliament's proposed ban on the sale of food from clones and their offspring.

Peter Stevenson, Compassion's Chief Policy Advisor, comments, "The UK Government seems determined to foist food from clones and their offspring on to consumers' plates."

The European Parliament is pressing for a ban because the scientific evidence shows that cloning entails great suffering both for the cloned animals and the surrogate mothers that carry them to birth. The EU Agriculture Council, which comprises Agriculture Ministers from the 27 EU Member States, is resisting enacting a ban.

Conciliation meetings between the European Parliament and the EU Agriculture Council have so far failed to produce agreement. And time is running out. If agreement is not reached, the proposed Novel Food Regulation will not be enacted and there will be no EU legislation to govern this area.

Ironically, it is France and Greece - countries not normally supportive on animal welfare - that are supporting the European Parliament's proposed ban on the sale of food from clones and their offspring, whilst the UK - which regularly claims to lead the way on animal welfare in Europe - is taking the lead in opposing any restriction on cloning.

The European Parliament's proposed ban is firmly based on scientific evidence. The European Food Safety Authority has concluded that, "...the health and welfare of a significant proportion of clones… have been found to be adversely affected, often severely and with a fatal outcome".

And an Opinion issued by the European Group on Ethics (EGE) in Science and New Technologies concluded that, "...considering the current level of suffering and health problems of surrogate dams and animal clones, the EGE has doubts as to whether cloning animals for food supply is ethically justified".

Peter Stevenson added, "Compassion believes that the UK and the rest of Europe must abandon the cruelties of factory farming and instead introduce forms of animal husbandry that are sustainable and humane. Cloning - with its reckless disregard for the integrity and wellbeing of animals - has no legitimate part to play in the way we feed ourselves."

Currently no EU legislation exists to govern the cloning of animals for food. The European Parliament's proposed Novel Foods Regulation represents a real chance to protect the welfare of farm animals for the future.

Compassion calls on the UK's Agriculture Minister, Jim Paice MP, to reconsider the UK's position and instead to support the proposed EU ban on the sale of meat and milk from both clones and their offspring.