The European Parliament has voted to support a proposal of the Commission to ban animal cloning, but broadened it to include the cloning of all farm animals, their offspring and all products derived from them including imports into the EU.
The Parliament voted 529-120 with 57 abstentions last week to adopt a legislative report on the ban.
German lawmaker Renate Sommer, the Parliament's environmental committee co-rapporteur, said the "technique of cloning is not fully mature, and in fact, no further progress has been made with it".
She added that the mortality rate among cloned animals remained high, with many of them dying "painfully" in the first few weeks. "Should we allow that?" she asked.
Italian lawmaker Giulia Moi, agriculture committee co-rapporteur, noted that European farmers "are currently faced with major competitive pressure from Asia, particularly, due to certain practices, including cloning. But Europe is based on values and that includes quality. We want to be sure that we don't go down a path from which there is no return".
According to past surveys, most Europeans said they oppose animal cloning and that they would not buy foods produced from cloned animals.
Lawmakers and EU nations will next draft a law to introduce a ban.