I have received lots of correspondence this week on the issue of cloning animals which I know is a topic which many feel passionate about. Today, the Parliament voted to tighten up a proposed ban on cloning animals for food so as to ensure they never find a place on European farms.
My position on this is clear; I want a ban on cloned animals, and therefore I support the European Commission’s legislative proposal which aims to allow a ban on cloned animals. However, I am concerned by the way in which the European Parliament’s text extends the ban to the descendants or offspring of cloned animals.
The parliament's insistence on extending the ban to offspring has already delayed the introduction of a ban for many years and will continue to mean that no ban will come into force on cloned animals. The reason for this is that there is no traceability system in place anywhere in the world to trace the offspring of cloned animals. This means that no one will be able to prove that meat of cheese has come from an animal which isn't the descendant of a cloned animal. The end result is that all meat and dairy products will be banned, as none will conform with the legislation.
Effectively the European Parliament is voting to ban all milk, cheese and butter, as well as all beef and lamb meat until an effectively traceability system is developed, which could take many years.
Because of this, there is no possibility that the Council of Ministers will accept the parliament's position. As both chambers have to agree, unless the Parliament backs down, this means that there will be no agreement, as no government minister will be prepared to sign up to a ban on meat and milk products.
There will be a deadlock between the Parliament and the Council ultimately resulting in no ban on cloned animals at all.
I therefore could not vote for a proposal which would effectively ban the sale of beef, lamb, milk, butter and cheese, which is what this proposal is asking for in the absence of a traceability system being in place. To reiterate, I support a ban on cloned animals. With the deadlock now well entrenched for the reasons stated above, we will most likely continue without a ban on products from animals which have been cloned.