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Cloned Farm Animals

Volume 456: debated on Monday 29 January 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans he has to ban the entry of cloned farm animals into the UK; what regulations he plans to put in place to control domestic production of cloned farm animals; and what consultation he proposes on this issue. (117133)

The Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 restricts cloning in the UK to licensed procedures and animals protected under this Act could not be used for farming purposes. Animal welfare legislation ensures the health and welfare of all livestock reared in England by both natural and artificial breeding methods.

Products derived from cloned animals (or from animals descended from clones) are subject to the provisions of the European Commission (EC) Novel Foods Regulation. Before marketing such products, an expert assessment of their safety for the food chain must be carried out and approved at European level. To date, no such applications for assessment under this regulation have been made.

At an EC working group on 12 January 2007, member states agreed that there should be a discussion at an EC Standing Committee to clarify which sections of the EC Novel Foods Regulation apply to cloned animals and their offspring. It was also agreed that the European Food Safety Authority should be consulted on the safety of products from cloned animals and their offspring. The Commission will be producing a paper on these points for discussion at a future EC Standing Committee.

The Government are currently consulting on their response to the Farm Animal Welfare Council (FAWC) report on the ‘Welfare Implications of Animal Breeding and Breeding Technologies in Commercial Agriculture’. The outcome of this consultation will inform our position on welfare aspects and contribute to the broader consideration of whether there is a need for further regulatory controls.