Yesterday (Tuesday 8th September), Members of the European Parliament voted to ban the cloning of farm animals.
We are delighted that with a majority of 529 votes to 120, with 57 abstentions, MEPs have voted for a comprehensive ban on all aspects of the cloning of farm animals. The Parliament has hugely strengthened the Commission’s initial proposal. It now includes banning:
- The carrying out of cloning in the EU
- The use of clones and their descendants in EU farming
- The sale of meat or milk from clones or their descendants
- The import into the EU of clones, their descendants, sperm, oocytes and embryos from clones and their descendants as well as food from clones and their descendants.
On hearing the outcome of the vote, Peter Stevenson, our Chief Policy Adviser said: “The cloning ban is a marvellous triumph, which could help save countless animals from a life of misery and suffering.”
A cruel practice
Cloning has horrendous welfare consequences for the animals involved. We are firmly against this cruel practice and have been lobbying hard to prevent it.
Cloning accelerates selective breeding of farm animals for increased ‘productivity’. But fast growth and high yields result in millions of animals dying from heart failure, or being culled prematurely because they are exhausted.
Cloning causes health and welfare problems for both the clones and the surrogate mothers who carry them. However, some European governments, including the UK Government, support cloning and we fear they will now try to use their influence to derail this landmark decision.
We are now considering how best to pressure these governments to make sure they listen to public opinion, which is against cloning as demonstrated in yesterday’s democratic vote.
Peter added: “The UK - despite its claims to give a high priority to animal welfare - is again (as it did four years ago) leading the opposition to any effective restrictions on cloning.
We are deeply disappointed that the UK Government - which in its Manifesto earlier this year committed itself to upholding the ‘highest standards of animal welfare - is so resolute in its support for cloning.”