Brussels, 9 October 2008
EU Health Commissioner Androulla Vassiliou said: "The survey provides us with valuable insights into the attitudes of EU citizens toward the use of animal cloning technology for food production. The European Commission has now before it the opinions of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the European Group of Ethics (EGE) and also the Eurobarometer survey. The Commission will now proceed with the analysis of these elements before considering whether and what action may be necessary."
Some details about the study
With regard to when cloning may be justified, respondents noted that animal cloning for food production should never be justified by an average of 58% while 41% thought that it may be justified to improve the robustness of animals against diseases and 44% thought it would be justified if used to preserve rare animal species.
Amongst other issues, almost four out of 10 of those asked (38%) believe that none of the potential benefits presented to them (health or economic) would justify breeding cloned animals for food production. Out of those believing that there are benefits to animal cloning, 54% expressed the opinion that the procedure might help solve the worldwide food problems. However, 54% and 44% of the respondent felt that animal cloning would ultimately not benefit either consumers or farmers.
The food industry emerged as the sector that would ultimately benefit if animal cloning for food production purposes was allowed: 86% of respondents share this opinion.
Citizens stated they are "not at all likely" to buy food derived from cloned animals (43%) or from offspring of cloned animals (41%)
The Eurobarometer was conducted in July 2008. More than 25 000 randomly selected citizens were interviewed in the 27 EU Member States.
In July, the European Commission received the scientific opinion of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) on cloning and earlier this year, the European Group of Ethics (EGE) delivered its opinion on the same subject.
EFSA's report gave rise to increased concerns on aspects of animal health and
welfare and the EGE raised ethical concerns.
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