In a recent opinion, the European Group on Ethics for science and new technologies did not find any argument to justify the production of food from clones and their offspring. Instead, it recommends promoting public debates on the impact of cloning farm animals on agriculture, the environment and society at large.
In an Opinion adopted on 16 January 2008, the European Group on Ethics for science and new technologies (EGE) said it “does not see convincing arguments to justify the production of food from clones and their offspring”.
The EGE opinion on ethical aspects of animal cloning for food supply states that “considering the current level of suffering and health problems of surrogate dams and animal clones, the EGE has doubts as to whether cloning animals for food supply is ethically justified. Whether this applies also to progeny is open to further scientific research.”
If, however, cloned meat and other food products derived from cloned animals were to be introduced into the European market, the EGE argues that:
- The safety of food products for human consumption must be guaranteed;
- the guidance on animal welfare provided by the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) must be followed, and;
- EU legislation on the traceability of animals and their food products should be enforced, including traceability of imports and global trade.
In addition, the EGE recommends conducting further studies and analyses on the long-term animal welfare and health implications for clones and their offspring as well as taking proper measures to preserve the genetic heritage of species of farm animal and address intellectual property and product labelling issues.
Furthermore, it recommends promotng public debates “on the impact of farm animal cloning on agriculture and the environment, on the societal impact of increasing meat consumption and rearing bovines, as well as the fair distribution of food resources”.