Jan 16, 2008
After recommending a voluntary moratorium in 2001, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced this week that it has deemed cloned animals “safe to eat” after seven years of study.
Despite opposition from legislators, experts, non-profit organizations, and even some in the industry, the FDA's announcement allows products from cloned cattle, swine, and goats to be sold to the public without labels of origin. Major agribusinesses Smithfield and Tyson Foods have already said they will not sell cloned animal products pending further research or consumer demand.
Also this month, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) of the European Union (EU) issued a draft opinion stating that cloned animal products are safe to eat but involve significant welfare implications. According to the EFSA, the death and disease rates of cloned pigs and cattle are significantly higher than conventionally bred animals, and the health and welfare of such animals suffers as a result. The EFSA has called for further study on the matter and improved cloning techniques.
WSPA strongly opposes the production and sale of cloned animals. Animals suffer significantly from the process; the vast majority of cloning attempts fail or cause premature death, and the few clones that do survive have serious abnormalities. Animals targeted for cloning are frequently those with particularly high productivity. Dairy cattle, for example, are often cloned to produce more milk, which can cause severe leg deformities and painful diseases. WSPA considers such practices both excessive and inhumane.
WSPA supports efforts in Congress to prohibit cloned animal products from entering the food supply.