The European Parliament has called for a ban on cloned animals proposed by the European Commission to include the cloning of all farm animals, their descendants and products derived from them, including imports into the European Union.

The original proposal covered only bovine, porcine, ovine, caprine and equine species, however the parliament wants the ban adjusted to cover all species of animal kept and reproduced for farming purposes.

The ban should also cover animals which are already derived from clones in certain third counties, says the parliament. Imports into the EU should only be allowed if the import certificates show that animals are not clones or their descendants. The ban should also apply to imports of animal germinal products and food and feed of animal origin.

During the debate, environment committee co-rapporteur Renate Sommer commented that the technique of cloning animals was not fully mature and that many cloned animals born alive die within the first few weeks of life and that their deaths are painful. To date, she continued, the European Union has been able to import reproductive material from third countries, letting others “do the dirty work”.

Findings by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) show that the health and welfare of clones are adversely affected.

Advertisement

The low efficiency rates in cloning – 6-15 percent for bovine and 6 percent for porcine species – make it necessary to implant embryo clones into several dams to obtain one cloned animal. Furthermore, clone abnormalities and unusually large offspring result in difficult births and neonatal deaths.

The issues of animal and human health were also raised.

Agriculture committee co-rapporteur Giulia Moi said: “This report sends the message to our trade partners that we are not willing to put our own health, our families’ health, and future generations’ health at stake using products of dubious quality of this nature.”

The co-rapporteurs will now start negotiations with the council of the EU on the final shape of the law.