Europeans say no to cloning for food
Keep cloned animals and their offspring out of the food chain, demand shoppers
By Sean Poulter
Daily Mail, 9 October 2008
[image caption: No thanks: A survey has found that most shoppers do not want cloned animals and their offspring to be farmed for food. The first clone offspring calf, Dundee Paradise (pictured), was born on a farm in Shropshire in 2006]
The vast majority of consumers believe cloned animals and their offspring should not be farmed for food, according to an EU study.
The issue has jumped to public attention after the Daily Mail revealed that eight cattle - the offspring of a clone milking cow in the U.S. - had been born on UK farms.
Currently, there is no law to stop meat and milk from these animals getting into the food chain. Nor is there any requirement to label food from clone offspring.
The EU and Britain's Food Standards Agency are in the throes of deciding how clone farming should be policed.
A survey of 25,000 European consumers yesterday made clear that families are unhappy at 'Frankenstein Food' farming.
The research found 87 per cent of residents in the UK - 84 per cent in Europe - believe we don't know enough about the long-term health and safety effects of eating food from cloned animals.
The findings triggered demands from animal welfare groups for the EU to impose a ban on clone farming and the imports of clone animal food.
They pointed to alarming levels of animal suffering. Many clone animals die in the womb or soon after from painful organ failure and deformities.
Some 62 per cent of Britons said it was unacceptable to use cloning for food production as it treats animals as commodities rather than living beings.
Throughout the EU, 63 per cent said they would not want to eat meat and milk from cloned animals. The figure for the UK was 55 per cent.
The survey found that the majority of Europeans - 58 per cent - took the view that animal cloning for food production would never be justified.
The Food & Drug Administration in the U.S. is understood to be about to give the green light to the sale of clone farm meat and milk in shops and restaurants.
In theory, this food could also be exported to the UK. Just over 80 per cent of Britons said any such food should be labelled as being from clone farm origin.
Ten years ago, a similar requirement for the labelling of foods containing GM ingredients triggered fierce rows between the U.S. and Europe.
The Americans complained it would stigmatise the food and so represent an unfair restraint of trade.
The Eurogroup for Animals, which speaks for animal welfare groups in Britain, called on the EC to act on the survey.
Director Sonja Van Tichelen said: 'Consumers want natural and healthy food, not Frankenstein food.'
Tory MEP Neil Parish, chairman of the European Parliament agriculture committee, said families were right to be concerned.
He added: 'We must be guided by the science and not emotions, but the science is not suitably developed to ensure the levels of animal welfare and human health protection we would expect in Europe.'
The first clone offspring calf, Dundee Paradise, was born on a farm in Shropshire in 2006.
Seven more were subsequently born, however there is no information on their current whereabouts.