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BRUSSELS, Belgium -

EU lawmakers called Wednesday for an EU-wide ban on meat from cloned animals, claiming that they may be less healthy than other animals.

The European Parliament called for the ban on animal welfare grounds, saying it would also protect the image of high quality agriculture in Europe.

Animal welfare campaigners claim that cloned animals suffer more defects, age at a faster rate and die earlier than other animals.

Although no meat or dairy products from cloned animals are currently sold anywhere in the world, the possibility of cloned meat hitting supermarket shelves was raised in January when U.S. regulators said it was as safe as any other kind of meat.

A preliminary EU study also said it was unlikely there was any risk to human health from eating cloned meat.

The European Commission - which would have to propose any ban - said it would look at advice from scientists and ethics experts before making any decision on banning cloned meat in the 27-nation EU or imports from elsewhere.

EU Food Safety Commissioner Androula Vassiliou said regulators...