Today, (Tuesday) September 8 MEPs voted yes on amendments to a European Commission proposal to ban the cloning of farm animals in the EU.

The report was adopted by MEPs by 529 votes to 120. Some 57 MEPs abstaining from the vote.

The MEPs in charge of steering the plans through Parliament support the ban, but wanted to add provisions on the offspring of cloned animals and the marketing of their products coming from countries outside the EU.

Current situation

In the EU food from clones currently needs a pre-market approval based on a scientific food safety assessment by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) before it can be put on the market.

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 MEPs’ views

Giulia Moi, who is dealing with the proposal on behalf of the agriculture committee, said the work on the parliamentary report had been guided by the need to protect both animals and people.

“We didn’t fall back on compromises such as the marketing and the opportunity to introduce products derived from cloned animals and their descendants in the member states.

“Also, we have excluded the possibility that cloning of animals could become a common practice within the borders of the EU,” she said.

However, she said they were aware the products of the offspring of cloned animals were being marketed in some countries the EU is trading with.

German EPP member Renate Sommer, who is dealing with the proposal on behalf of the environment committee, said due to the negative effects on animal welfare, cloning for farming purposes is rejected by a large majority of consumers.

“Furthermore, we do not need cloning to ensure the meat supply in the EU. Prohibiting cloning is a matter of European values and principles. Consequently, the ban should not only include the clones themselves but also their reproductive material (semen and embryos), their descendants and any products derived thereof.

“This is necessary because, otherwise, we would promote the cloning technique in third countries,”

Next steps

The proposal will need to be approved by both the Parliament and the Council before it can enter into force.

At the earliest the legislation could enter into force in 2016.

However, cloning would not banned for other purposes, such as research, the conservation of rare breeds and endangered species or the use of animals for the production of pharmaceuticals and medical devices