The World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) has condemned the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s recent move towards allowing the sale of meat and dairy products from animal clones and their offspring.
WSPA, the world’s largest federation of animal welfare organisations, has written to EU Trade Minister Peter Mandelson, urging him to speak out against the FDA’s draft assessment, and to consider a ban on US meat imports if the sale goes ahead.
The animal welfare implications of cloning are the chief concerns of the WSPA.
Major General Peter Davies, Director General of WSPA, said: “If we allow the commercialisation of products from animal clones and their offspring to go unchallenged in the United States, thousands of animals there and potentially millions more around the world will one day suffer the consequences.”
He added: “The FDA’s statement that ‘Cloning poses no unique risks to animal health’ is completely misleading. Most cloned embryos die before birth and many of the few clones that are born alive suffer from serious abnormalities and premature death.”
Whether because of concerns for human safety or animal welfare, 64 percent of Americans said they were uncomfortable with animal cloning in a 2006 poll conducted by the Pew Initiative on Food and Biotechnology. According to Davies, public opinion in other countries, including the European Union and Canada, is equally or even more strongly opposed.
“In the event that the sale of meat and dairy products from animal clones is actually permitted in the United States, we believe that other countries should refuse to import them, especially in the absence of appropriate labelling,” he said.
Citing the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, which supports the refusal of such imports, Davies pledged that the WSPA would press the EU, governments and intergovernmental organisations to enforce trade restrictions and involve WSPA Member Societies in advocating for similar policies in their own countries.
“The WSPA urges everyone who cares about animals to express their concern to the FDA, government representatives, religious and community leaders, and the media,” said Davies.
“We must take action to prevent the FDA from setting a terrible precedent that would result in the suffering of countless animals around the world.”
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