David Martin MEP has supported a vote at in the European Parliament’s Environment, Public Health and Food Safety committee yesterday (20 February) to put animal welfare ahead of controversial farming practices in a key vote on the cloning of animals.
Scientific evidence is clear that the cloning of animals is cruel - with the potential to cause pain, suffering and distress at all stages of the process. The surrogate dams suffer from high mortality rates, and even after they give birth, about a third of their babies do not survive longer than a few weeks. Charities like the RSPCA have criticised the use of the technique for wasting animals' lives.
At the moment there are no rules around whether animal cloning can be used for food production, and this is what the vote today aims to address. The use of the technique for food production is growing in countries like the USA and there is pressure on Europe to follow suit. Eating actual clones will not happen as they are too expensive to be a commercially viable food source. It is the eating of the offspring of clones which is very much in debate - these are the animals which are bred for the food chain.
David Martin MEP, a former animal welfare worker for the St Andrews Animal Welfare Fund , said:
"Labour MEPs would prefer we don't get involved in cloning, but at the very least, we want meat and milk from cloned animals to be labelled. People should have a right to know whether their supermarket purchases are driving a practice that is widely recognised to have serious implications for animal welfare.
"This is about what kind of farming we want for the future. We don't need cloning in the food chain - it is simply not necessary for food production."