A little more meat from clones?
Today, the animal cloning technique is not used in the European Union to produce food. However, meat from the offspring of clones can end up on European consumers’ plates without them knowing as there is no labelling.
As countries like the USA, Brazil or Argentina resort to cloning on an unknown scale, the meat we import from those countries potentially originates from clones’ offspring. While the lack of labelling leaves consumers in the dark, the European Commission’s legislative proposals on animal cloning published in December 2013 will not change one iota.
The Commission proposed to label meat directly derived from the clones themselves. However, clones are not meant to end up on our plates. A clone costs several 10,000 euros so no farmer would ever make steaks out of a cloned beef, which is instead seen as an investment and issued for reproduction. The labelling of food obtained from clone offspring being ditched from the proposal leaves us at a standstill.
Disappointingly, the Commission has ignored the consumers’ stance. According to a 2008 Eurobarometer survey, 84% of EU citizens are against such production techniques. Their disapproval can be explained by ethical, sustainability and animal welfare considerations.
If meat from clone offspring is imposed on consumers, the least we expect from the European Commission is to require compulsory labelling so consumers can decide for themselves whether or not they want to buy it.