The European Parliament (EP) has voted for a beefing up of existing European Commission (EC) plans to ban the cloning of all farm animals, their descendants and products derived from them, including imports into the EU.
MEPs voted heavily against cloning, pointing out that low efficiency rates in cloning (6 to 15% for bovine and 6% for porcine species) make it necessary to implant embryo clones into several dams to obtain one cloned animal.
“The technique of cloning is not fully mature, and in fact, no further progress has been made with it,” said EP environment committee co-rapporteur, Renate Sommer, adding that mortality rates also remain high.
“Up to now, we have been able to import reproductive material from third countries. We are washing our hands letting others do the dirty work. We want to ban comprehensively. Not just the use of cloning techniques but the imports of reproductive material, clones and their descendants.”
Italian MEP Giulia Moi, added: “Our farmers are currently faced with major competitive pressure from Asia particularly, due to certain practices, including cloning. But Europe is based on values and that includes quality. We want to be sure that we don’t go down a path from which there is no return.”
The committee’s co-rapporteurs will now start negotiations with the Council of the EU on the final shape of the legislation, needed to translate the EP vote into law.