How good is that steak? How would you feel if the animal’s next generation was somehow different? So what if people eat cloned meat? That is what critics are asking, after a European Commission proposal to ban animal cloning for food production, but not imports of food from clone offspring, saying it is unnecessary and would disrupt global trade.
John Dalli, the EU Health and Consumer Policy Commissioner, said: “It is totally safe to consume products from offspring of cloned animals. Therefore, it’s not a question of protection. The decisions that we have taken were taken on the basis of animal welfare and on ethics.”
Animal cloning transfers genes to create a DNA identical copy of an animal. But the failure rate is still more than four out of five. Most cloned animals die shortly after they are born, or before.
For animal welfare groups the jury is still out.
Sonja Van Tichelen, with the organisation Eurogroup for Animals, said: “We don’t know what’s going to happen with future generations, even offspring, because there are issues there on how these genes will behave in future generations. So, we would like to see a complete ban like the European Parliament and some EU member states are calling for.”
The Commission proposes a five-year EU ban, saying that, scientifically, you can not tell the difference between what comes from a cloned animal and what comes from a naturally bred animal.
The critics say US multinationals and trade lobbyists “have been running around Brussels for months, talking to MEPs and the Commission.”
Cloned animal uncertainties raised by consumer groups