Bioethics Forum

Clones in the Barn? Animal Cloning and Meat Production

dbb forum berlin, Atrium I + II, Friedrichstraße 169/170, 10117 Berlin


In the USA, food made from the offspring of cloned animals has been sold in supermarkets since 2008. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) also considers such products to be harmless to health.

Since June 2009, there has been increased public debate in Germany about the cloning of farm animals for food production. This was prompted by the EU Commission’s proposal to make the import of meat from the offspring of cloned animals subject to the European Novel Food Regulation, which has been regulating the handling of “novel foods” since 1997. According to this proposal, only the health aspects of cloned meat for humans are examined. However, this is only one – albeit important – aspect. When evaluating the use of cloned animals in animal breeding and for the production of food, aspects of animal welfare, animal health and fundamental ethical and legal questions must also be taken into account.

With this event, the German Ethics Council aims to focus in particular on the following aspects:

  • Does cloning result in suffering for the animals concerned?
  • What questions arise with regard to preserving the biodiversity of farm animals?
  • Are existing ethical limits affected or transgressed by cloning in comparison to the handling of animals that has been practised up to now?
  • Does cloning give rise to particular questions with regard to the patenting and economic exploitation of animals and the obligation to label when commercialising goods that are derived from cloned animals?

Prof. Dr. Heiner Niemann will introduce the topic with a lecture focusing on the scientific background. Following this, Prof. Dr Eve-Marie Engels will elaborate on the aspects of animal ethics. Prof. Dr. Hille Haker gives a European perspective on the topic. In addition to the mentioned speakers, Dr Stefan Etgeton and Dr Dettmar Frese will take part in the subsequent panel discussion. Prof. Dr. Frank Emmrich chairs the event.