A EUROPEAN Commission presented study has revealed that Europeans generally have a negative perception of animal cloning for food production.
The vast majority of respondents had a good knowledge of what is animal cloning, with eight out of 10 stating correctly that “cloning is making an identical copy of an existing animal”.
The study also showed that a very high percentage of people have a negative attitude towards cloning for food consumption.
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”
With regard to when cloning may be justified, 58 per cent said never for food, 41 per cent thought that it may be justified to improve the robustness of animals against diseases and 44 per cent thought it would be justified if used to preserve rare animal species.
Amongst other issues, 38 per cent of those asked 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 per cent expressed the opinion that the procedure might help solve the worldwide food problems.
However, more than half of respondents felt that animal cloning would ultimately not benefit either consumers or farmers.
Some 43 per cent stated they are “not at all likely” to buy food derived from cloned animals or from offspring of cloned animals (41 per cent)
The survey was conducted in July 2008 with more than 25,000 randomly selected citizens being interviewed in the 27 EU member States.