AgResearch’s Cruel Experiments Cover A Wide Range of Animals

New revelations of cruel outcomes on experimental genetically engineered (GE) calves at AgResearch’s GE facility are likely to be just the tip of the iceberg according to the Soil & Health Association of NZ.
“AgResearch already has a bad track record with its Annual Reports to ERMA for GE cattle showing a less than 9 % live birth rate, deformed foetuses and calves, gangrenous udders and animals suffering from respiratory conditions,” said Soil & Health spokesperson Steffan Browning.(1)
The Environmental Risk Management Authority (ERMA) last year also granted AgResearch permission to experiment on cats, dogs, pigs, guinea pigs, sheep, mice, rats, rabbits, possums, cattle, goats, and chickens using genetic material from almost any form of life.(2)
“How many cats and dogs, rabbits and guinea pigs, mice, cattle, and other animals are to suffer for AgResearch’s unnecessary experiments?”
“AgResearch’s media tour last year showed off apparently healthy cattle but they were just the lucky survivors. It is now evident that some calves ovaries were growing to the point of rupture, causing death, but the scientist in charge Dr Jimmy Suttie has been quoted as saying the deaths are not a big deal.”(3)
“Animal welfare is a big deal, especially when there are animal free alternative experimental and production methods for the compounds that AgResearch ultimately wants to produce,” said Mr Browning.
“Science Minister Wayne Mapp and Agriculture Minister David Carter have both shown acceptance of AgResearch’s poor animal welfare record, presumably a ‘pragmatic’ response to the dubious promises of high financial returns that AgResearch’s international partners have said will be coming.”
“However good animal welfare records and a GE free reputation are very important for New Zealand’s trading image and increasingly demanded by consumers. Cruel experiments for a GE farming future are not what either New Zealanders or valuable overseas consumers want.”(4)
“AgResearch is at the cruel operator end of a business partnership with a dirty drug manufacturer, Genzyme, who is under investigation by the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) for poor manufacturing practices.” (5)
“Knowing that it would be a nuisance for AgResearch and its overseas partners, the government disbanded the New Zealand Bioethics Council a year ago in full knowledge that distressing animal welfare issues are clearly predictable in GE research. The Bioethics Council had been calling for ethics reviews of all GE animal experiments.” (6)
Soil & Health wants AgResearch’s cruel animal experiments stopped immediately, the reinstatement of the New Zealand Bioethics Council, and the government to quickly move towards desirable high value sustainable, animal friendly, GE free and organic production.
(1) ERMA Annual reports on GMF98009 and GMD 02028
“Donor genetic material may be derived from the Kingdoms Animalia, Planta, Fungi, Protista and Monera and viruses and viroids…”
(6) New Zealand Bioethics Council, August 2004 Report: The Cultural, Ethical and Spiritual Dimensions of the Use of Human Genes in Other Organisms

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