Cloning of animals

The breeding, sale and import of cloned animals like cows and pigs shall be banned in the EU to protect animals, consumers and farmers.

How did we get here?

The existing laws that protect farm animals only set minimum standards for the welfare of animals. These laws do not refer explicitly to cloning, but urge Member States to avoid unnecessary pain, suffering or injury of animals used in agriculture. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) defines cloning primarily as a problem for animal welfare, especially since the technique is not very efficient. Europeans generally do not support cloning techniques for producing farm animals. A European Parliament resolution of 6 July 2011 requested a legislative proposal to prohibit food from cloned animals, although no cloning activities are taking place in the EU at this time. 

 

Why is this important for me?

Consumers of meat in the EU will be guaranteed that cloning techniques cannot be used to produce the food they are eating. In addition, no food from clones can be produced in or imported into the EU. These new rules will provide legal certainty for farmers so they can all work under the same conditions. In the end, these rules aim to protect the health and welfare of farmed animals.

 

What's the content?

The Commission was asked to prepare a legislative proposal on cloning in food production which was presented by the then Commissioner for Health and Consumers, Tonio Borg. The planned rules aim to ban the use of cloning techniques for food production purposes. This ban was supposed to only concern the following farm animals: cows, pigs, sheep, goats and horses. However, the Environment and Agriculture committees in the European Parliament extended the scope of the ban to cover all species of animals kept and reproduced for farming purposes (instead of only bovine, ovine, caprine and equine species, as proposed by the Commission). They also extended the ban to cover the germinal products of animal clones, descendants of cloned animals and products derived from them. Furthermore, the import and sale of cloned animals shall be banned as well.

The rules are supposed to be temporary and could change as soon as there are new scientific research findings. Cloning of animals for research, conservation of endangered species or use of animals for the production of pharmaceuticals and medical devices is not to be banned.

 

What's happening with this legislation in the future?

The proposal was discussed and voted on in the European Parliament's Environment and Agriculture committees. MEPs changed the form of the legal act from a directive, which EU countries would have had to transpose into their national laws, into a regulation, which would directly apply to all Member States' laws. 

The committee report - as outlined above - was voted on in the plenary in September 2015. Now, the discussions with the Member States are under way, which might be very difficult. In March 2011, a similar initiative failed because the European Parliament and the Member States could not find an agreement. In case it is going to be more successful this time, the proposal will come into effect 18 months after its adoption.

 

Related Bills:

Updated rules on 'novel foods'

More Possibilities for the Restriction of GMOs

Organic production and labelling of organic products

politixNew visa rules for EU travellersReduced share of biofuels in energy mixFruit, vegetables and milk for European StudentsBan on all kind of driftnet fisheriesToo big to fail: Structural Reform of EU Banking SectorA European Platform to fight undeclared workA pan-European Pension System Fighting the trafficking of firearmsA New Waste Management System in the EUFinancial Transaction Tax: Making banks pay for the crisisLess Plastic Bags for EuropeEliminating roaming, securing net neutralityRight2Water: Water and sanitation as human rightEnforceable Flight Rights for Air PassengersPublic list of company owners to fight money launderingMore Possibilities for the Restriction of GMOsEuropean Solidarity CorpsTightened rules for safer and cleaner carsSafer Ship TravelsProtecting fish and marine ecosystemsUpdated European data protection laws Resettlement of Migrants in the EUSafety standards for new kinds of CablewaysCheaper cross-border Parcel DeliveryCross-border enforcement for speeding & traffic offencesEU-wide Minimum Standards for FrackingEuropean statistics relating to persons and householdsUpdated Rules for Audiovisual MediaNew Food Labeling RulesAccess to a Basic Bank Account for EveryoneA New Copyright Regime for EuropePollen as specific 'Ingredient' or Natural Honey Component?Circular Economy: Reducing waste in EuropeRules for cross-border divorcesBetter Management of Asylum FlowsAn Entry-Exit System for External European BordersResolution on Sexual and Reproductive HealthStronger Rules against Terrorism Financing and Money LaunderingNew Rules for Tobacco Products and PackagingOrganic production and labelling of organic productsSimpler Rules for VAT in EcommerceLess Greenhouse Gas Emissions for the EUUpdated rules on 'novel foods'Free Wi-Fi for EverybodyEnsure safe and secure air travelBetter Checks of EU Citizens at External BordersUse of Flight Passenger Data Posting of workersBetter Connectivity and super-fast InternetReduced Flush Volume for ToiletsNew rules on privacy in electronic communicationMinimum standards for children accused in courtMore Security in EU Partner CountriesBetter Cooperation among Consumer Protection AuthoritiesEuropass - Better online tools for your job huntStricter Rules for the Export of potentially Dangerous GoodsBetter Protection from Cancer at WorkStrategy Against Discrimination of LGBTI Persons Better protection for children of international couplesCreation of a European Union Agency for AsylumNew consumer rules when (online) shoppingProviding Services more easily across bordersA new electoral law for the European ParliamentBetter access to books for the blindBetter EU access for highly skilled workersCross-border portability: Access to streaming services from abroadMaking products & services more accessible for disabled peopleReducing pollutant emissions from carsConsumer rights for downloads and streaming services Improving the exchange of information on criminalsGeoblocking: Less consumer discrimination onlineBetter energy labels on electronic productsUpdated energy efficiency rulesA European ESTABetter protection for your moneyEuropean Year of Cultural Heritage 2018Creating a European Border and Coast GuardWork-Life Balance for allMore renewable energyEmpowering electricity consumersReducing administrative burden for EU citizens