There are no specific laws relating to cloned farm animals at present. Cloning animals is legal. However, in October 2010 the European Commission recommended a five year ban on the cloning of animals in the European Union, on the use of cloned animals and on the sale of food from cloned animals. Such recommendations have yet to be implemented.
Welfare of cloned animals
Cloned animals are afforded the same level of protection as any other animal. The welfare of cloned animals is covered by a number of pieces of legislation, the most significant being the Animal Welfare Act 2006 and the Welfare of Farmed Animals (England) Regulations 2007. The same applies to donor and surrogate animals.
Food from cloned animals
The sale of meat and other animal food products, such as milk and eggs, derived from cloned animals and their descendants is currently legal. However, cloned animal food products are treated as being “novel foods” and are, therefore, subject to the requirements of Regulation (EC) No. 258/97 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 January 1997 concerning novel foods and novel food ingredients.
There is currently some doubt as to whether animal food products derived from the descendants of cloned animals is covered by the Regulations. The Food Standards Agency (the body responsible for food safety in United Kingdom) is currently of the view that the Regulations apply to food from both cloned animals and to food from the ancestry of cloned animals. The European Commission and other Member States, however, take the view that the Regulations only apply to food from cloned animals. It may well be that the Food Standards Agency will adopt the Commission’s position in the future.
The Regulations prohibit the sale of foods and food ingredients in the EU which:
- present a danger to consumers;
- mislead consumers;
- differ from foods or food ingredients which they are intended to replace to such an extent that their normal consumption would be nutritionally disadvantageous for consumers.
For more information on:
- Labelling of cloned animal products