This petition was started by Occupy for Animals and has been submitted to the European Parliament for official registration.
What is animal cloning?
Animal cloning is a form of animal reproduction that does not require the union of a sperm and an egg.The most common animal cloning technique is referred to as somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) where the nucleus of an immature egg cell is replaced with that of a cell from a body part (somatic cell) such as an ear, leg, nose, etc.
Once nuclear replacement has been completed, the reconstructed embryo is artificially activated and the developing embryo transferred to a surrogate mother, where the foetus develops. In essence, the nuclear DNA of a cell that has been performing as part of an ear, leg or nose etc., is artificially reprogrammed to be able to develop into a complete animal.
Why are animals cloned?
Conventional breeding and assisted reproduction has been used for some time to improve the value of domestic animals for the benefit of mankind. Such improvements are evident in current food production with high yielding milk cows, as well as more efficient meat producing cattle, pigs, sheep and poultry.
However, conventional breeding is relatively time consuming and limited in that desirable traits can be difficult to transfer between related breeds or be diminished or diluted out in subsequent generations. Cloning however, allows for the reproduction of genetically identical animals that have all the genetic characteristics of the parent.
ABOUT THE ISSUE IN THE EUROPEAN UNION
Animal cloning involves stressful handling of the animals used as mother. The process is inefficient, with very low rates of success: 10% in cattle, 6% in pigs. Animals are submitted to painful handling and suffer numerous health problems. In addition, farm animals are seen more as commodities rather than sentient beings and cloning compounds this view resulting in less concern for animal welfare and less willingness to address welfare issues. The cloning of animals for use in food is completely unethical and unnecessary.
"We are convinced that banning these products from our markets is possible and in line with international trade rules. We know that despite repeated claims that it is impossible to trace these animals in the supply chain it is possible. However the European Commission is lacking the will and the courage to defend our consumers, to protect animals and to find a real solution." said Sonja Van Tichelen, Director of Eurogroup for Animals.
EU consumers and citizens are against this technique to produce food.
WHAT IS THE CURRENT SITUATION
In the EU food from animal clones must be authorised before being sold, but no other rule exists. The European Parliament has expressed its support to ban animal cloning for food and the import and sale of food products from clones and descendants. The European Food Safety Authority highlighted the huge animal welfare and health concerns. The European Group of Ethics has stated ethical ones. The European Commission, however, fears possible problems with trade partners.
On July 4, 2012 EU-commissioner John Dalli stated in an interview with Rose O'Donovan - editor of AGRA FACTS & AGRA FOCUS - that:
"It is the Commission's intention to come up with a specific regulation & legislative proposal on cloning"
In the same interview, the commissioner also admitted that there are "serious, very serious animal welfare issues to consider."
PUBLIC CONSULTATION ON ANIMAL CLONING FOR FOOD PRODUCTION IN THE EU
On 3 May, the European Commission launched a public consultation on the cloning of animals for food production. The consultation will run until 3 September and will feed into a Commission impact assessment prior to publishing their proposal on cloning expected early 2013.
For more information about animal cloning and the Public Consultation, please visit: