An application by AgResearch to trial many different genetically engineered animal types in its laboratories and farms is an ugly step in the wrong direction for brand New Zealand’s clean green 100% Pure image, according to the Soil & Health Association.
“Kiwis don’t want GE. Our export markets don’t want GE. The GE trials we have already are being mismanaged. It is time to euthanase AgResearch’s current GE cattle, not add a macabre zoo to their unnatural and unwanted experiment,” says Soil & Health spokesperson Steffan Browning.
AgResearch is preparing an application to undertake genetic engineering research and development on a wide range of species including cattle, sheep, goats, deer, zebu, buffalo, horses, chickens and rabbits, and use genetic material from a wide range of donor species including human (synthetic) proteins.
The application is to also include a scaling up of current research and to undertake normal farm-scale activities so that sufficient numbers of animals can be maintained to enable pharmaceutical and nutraceutical production.
“The broad range of animals and recombinations envisaged by AgResearch comes when previous and existing experiments have still not been adequately managed and very real risks have still not been properly investigated,” says Mr Browning.
“On a site inspection at AgResearch’s Ruakura GE facility, Soil & Health saw non GE sheep and cattle grazing on land subject to drainage from the GE facility. (PHOTO ATTACHED). There is a poor level of care and concern about the environment within and beyond this and previous GE experimental facility boundaries.”
“GE constructs and derivatives including antibiotic resistant genes have been located in the soil at current GE facilities yet further research and clean up has been minimal, and one retired GE sheep experimental property at Whakamaru is once again for sale with conventional animals grazing there without any follow up residues research.”
“AgResearch appears to act as a law unto itself, and in one example AgResearch breached conditions of its GE cattle consent by inserting a GE embryo into a GE cow. Its penalty was remonstrating with itself by a review of its procedures. The original consent had expressly disallowed such a procedure, and it is very difficult to imagine a science technician not being well aware of their actions.”
“Every ERMA approved field trial, whether plant or animal, has fallen down on its conditions and for AgResearch to be applying for a veritable zoo to play with, is both risky, unethical and goes against New Zealand’s point of difference in the world, clean green, 100% Pure and essentially GE Free.”
“Euthanasia of AgResearch’s current GE herd and elimination of all GE field tests will be better for New Zealand’s environmental and economic future,” says Mr Browning.
Soil & Health promotes an Organic 2020 with food and environment free from GE.