‘Carte Blanche’ Approval for GE Animals warrants Immediate Court Action

GE FREE NZ Press Release l5 April 2010

GE Free NZ is appalled at the Environmental Risk Management Authority’s (ERMA) decision to give an approval for genetic engineering of sheep, cows and goats and believes the decision is illegal.

“This is extreme science getting the nod to go ‘behind closed doors’,” said Jon Carapiet spokesman from GE Free NZ in food and environment.

“AgResearch’s push for further cloning of GE animals will increase animal suffering” [1].

Expert witness Dr. Judith Carman told the ERMA committee that it was impossible to assess the millions of possible genetic transformations that could be engineered without more specific information. Questions of human, environmental and agricultural safety were unable to be considered. [2]

Genetically engineered animals will be used as bio-factories in an attempt to produce new proteins. The animals will eventually be discarded into an open offal pit that poses a direct threat to the surrounding ecosystem and water table.  Any diseases that the GE animals might harbour could enter the ground or be discharged onto the land through effluent and aborted tissue.

“The out doors conditions are dangerous to New Zealand’s bio security as they have not evaluated any organism and are no stricter than any other decision, just couched in more rhetoric”

Lessons from overseas shows it is only a matter of time before the proposed ‘Russian roulette’ approach to bio-security allows pathogens to threaten communities and the economy.

The Pirbright Facility in England engineered a Foot and Mouth live virus (2007)  supposedly deficient in infectivity, which  escaped into water and contaminated 5 farms leading to the shut-down of exports costing millions in clean up and compensation. [3]

“The risk of novel disease makes nonsense of ERMA’s decision, especially given their duty to protect the country from harm,” said Claire Bleakley president of GE Free NZ in food and environment.

“New Zealand is a unique and beautiful country with a disease free, GE-Free environment.  Our farmers must be able to continue to sell their sustainable, profitable, trusted and 100% GE Free pure produce to all consumers worldwide”. [4]

ENDS

Claire Bleakley 06-3089842 / 027 348 6731

Jon Carapiet 0210507681

References:

[1] ERMA Annual Reports 2000-2009

[2] Dr Judith Carman witness statement.  01/03/2010

[3] Final report on potential breaches of biosecurity at the Pirbright site 2007

http://www.hse.gov.uk/news/archive/07aug/finalreport.pdf

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