Response: Cloning in Animals


Below you will find my response to a number of emails from constituents regarding banning cloning in farm animals:

Many thanks for your letter regarding cloning.

As you will be aware, the cloning technique is currently not being used by Europe’s breeders and farmers because there is no appetite to do so. While Member States can choose to ban cloning should they wish, to date Denmark is the only Member State to have chosen this route. Fears that more Member States will follow in Denmark’s’ footsteps and therefore interrupt Europe’s single market for animals, their reproductive material or food led the Commission to propose a temporary moratorium, which I fully support.

Unfortunately, the Parliament has determined that the Commission proposal is inadequate, and must be extended in a number of ways which I do not support for this reason I voted against the Parliament report. For example, I can see the value of cloning technology with prevents the demise of elite breeding stocks. I believe our world is all the poorer for the loss of such diversity. If technology is available which can arrest this loss then I believe it should be used.

The comprehensive nature of the ban proposed by the parliament would also preclude research into cloning. You will be aware that Scotland is at the cutting edge of such research. The first ever clone animal, Dolly the sheep, was born in Scotland in 2003. Since then many other cloned mammals, including sheep, pigs, deer and horses have been successfully born and raised in Scotland. The permanent ban will prevent the evolution of the technology. I think this would be shortsighted and ultimately counterproductive. I will continue to support Scotland’s scientists in this regard.

Regarding the effectiveness of the Parliament’s proposals, I have serious concerns about the absence of any impact assessment on a full ban. I believe that the commission proposal addressed the very concerns raised in your letter. The new proposals seek to introduce a range of measures to increase traceability which remain uncosted and would introduce bureaucracy for all farmers even for those farmers in no way involved with cloning. I don’t believe that this is a sensible approach.

For these reasons I continue to support the approach of the European Commission rather than the heavily amended approach of the Parliament. I will do all I can to ensure that the moratorium continues, including supporting amendments which return the final text more closely to the Commission’s proposals.

Kind regards,

Ian Duncan MEP