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Multi-Nation Support of Livestock Cloning

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WASHINGTON, D.C. (Monday, March 21, 2011) - Five nations have come out in support of livestock cloning as one of many agricultural technologies that can help meet our growing demand for sustainable food production.

“These governments recognize that cloning is one breeding technology that helps farmers and ranchers produce healthier animals and contributes to more consistent food production,” said Dr. David Edwards, Director of Animal Biotechnology for the Biotechnology Industry organization (BIO). “There is global scientific agreement that foods from livestock clones and their offspring are no different than foods from livestock produced through conventional breeding and are completely safe to eat.”

Intergovernmental meetings were held in Buenos Aires in December 2010 and March 2011 where discussions focused on the regulatory and trade-related aspects of livestock cloning in agriculture and food production.  Following these discussions, representatives from the governments of Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, New Zealand and the United States signed a document in support of livestock cloning technology, and invited other Governments to sign on as well.  

The document identified five key points:

Regulatory approaches related to agricultural technologies should be science-based, and no more trade-restrictive than necessary to fulfill legitimate objectives, and should be consistent with international obligations.

Expert scientific bodies around the world have reviewed the effects of SCNT cloning on animal health and the safety of food derived from livestock clones. There has been no evidence indicating that food from clones or the progeny of clones is any less safe than food from conventionally bred livestock.

The sexually-reproduced progeny of SCNT clones are not clones. These progeny are the same as any other sexually-reproduced animal of their own species. There is no scientifically justifiable basis for imposing a regulatory differentiation between the progeny of clones and other animals of the species.

Restrictions specifically aimed at food from the progeny of clones - such as bans or labeling requirements - could have negative impacts on international trade.

Any audit and enforcement measure addressed to progeny of clones would be impossible to apply legitimately and would result in onerous, disproportionate and unwarranted burdens on livestock producers.

“World demand for meat and dairy products is forecasted to in¬crease dramatically in the next few decades, and much of that supply will need to come from more efficient livestock,” said Dr. David Faber, President of Trans Ova Genetics and Chair of BIO’s Animal Policy Committee. “Increasing pressure is being put on limited resources to meet the growing challenges to food security, and agricultural technologies such as cloning are going to play an increasingly crucial role in meeting these challenges.”

In January 2008, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a final risk assessment on animal cloning concluding that livestock cloning is safe.  In July 2008, the European Food Safety Authority also issued a scientific opinion that food from clones is safe, and there are no implications of animal cloning on the environment.  

The FDA Risk Assessment on Animal Cloning is posted online at: http://www.fda.gov/downloads/AnimalVeterinary/SafetyHealth/AnimalCloning/UCM124756.pdf.

The EFSA scientific opinion is posted online at: http://www.efsa.europa.eu/en/ahawtopics/topic/cloning.htm.