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EC GM Stance Should Apply to Animals

by 5m Editor
11 February 2011, at 11:49am

EUROPE - Eurogroup for Animals has expressed concern that the European Commission is to present an ethical and moral list to justify a ban on genetically modified crops to the European Council today (Friday), while not expending the proposals for animals and their offspring.

The group that represents animal welfare organisations in all EU Member States said the same arguments, such as the preservation of farming diversity, religious or philosophical concerns and consumer choice, apply to the production of cloned animals and their offspring as well as GM crops.

“Commissioner Dalli has attacked the European Parliament for stalling over the revision of the Novel Foods Regulation but then uses the same arguments raised by the parliament to justify Member States introducing bans on GM crops. This is totally unacceptable and introduces double standards. The Commission must make its decisions consistently and in line with sound science and societal values,” said Sonja Van Tichelen, director of Eurogroup for Animals.

“We strongly believe that the arguments presented by the Commission today should also be used to justify a decision to ban the cloning of animals for food production, and on the sale of imported food products from cloned animals and their offspring in the EU. We therefore call on Commissioner Dalli to introduce a temporary moratorium as soon as possible and to come forward with a long-term strategy in due course”, she added.

Eurogroup said it is concerned that the routine use of cloning would greatly reduce genetic diversity within livestock populations, increasing the chances of whole herds being wiped out by disease to which they would all be equally susceptible. In addition the European Commission and the Member States currently provide subsidies to farmers who conserve traditional breeds of livestock through rural development funding. Promoting cloning of farm animals would go against this rural development objective of conserving genetic diversity in farm animals.

The group said that the development of animal cloning as a method of food production is being pursued without public awareness and in spite of well-documented public concerns relating to the use of biotechnology in food production including genetic modification and it added that this is unacceptable.