INDEPENDENT NEWS

Govt Will Be Implicated In Unethical Experiments

Published: Tue 20 Nov 2001 09:40 AM
Government Will Be Implicated In Unethical Experiments If It Does Not Act On Transgenic Animals
The government must act now to block further GE experiments involving copying human genes into cows and sheep, or be condemned for pushing unethical experimentation on animals.
Following the Royal Commission recommendation to avoid food-animals like cows and sheep for mass-production of chemicals available through other means, it is wrong for the government to turn a blind eye to existing trials and allow a new application to be considered.
Announcements ( see below) of an application for a new GE animal trial calls into question the Government's response to Maori and general concerns from New Zealanders, and will undermine confidence that the proposed Bio-Ethics council by showing it to be a farce.
" The animal experiments are a defining issue for the country and are where the Royal Commission said we must draw the line. If the government does not stop new or existing experimentation that have clearly identified alternatives they risk alienating the people already suspicious of their claims to having a ' reasonable' approach" said a spokesperson for GE Free NZ.
" The fact that they are pretending there are no ethical issues, except that these animals will not 'end up in food' is ridiculous. People are starting to see through their words and are asking difficult questions. Already the demands that people accept 1% GE contamination in all food, including organic, as the price of growing GE food, are being totally rejected. More GE animals with human genes risks the future of our marketing image, and is a threat to New
Zealand."
Ends
Attached: NZPA article on new GE animals.
Hamilton, Nov 17 - A Scottish biotech company and Hamilton-based firm Celentis are to lodge their first genetic modification application with the Environmental Risk Management Authority.
Celentis -- AgResearch's commercial arm -- and PPL Therapeutics, which cloned Dolly the sheep, went into partnership last December.
AgResearch won't say what the new project involves but said it related to pharmaceuticals. The new application will be the first lodged with the environmental watchdog since AgResearch spent 18 months trying to get its own human genes in cows experiment off the ground.
AgResearch chief executive Keith Steele said it would e a test case for gResearch, which spent $250,000 last financial year rying to get approval for its previous project. That figure was likely to grow when legal costs from the current year were added, he said.
PPL already owns a flock of genetically engineered sheep which carry an extra piece of DNA that allows them to produce the protein Alpha-1-amitrypsin, said to help emphysema and cystic fibrosis.
AgResearch is considered a world leader in transgenic cattle and has four calves which carry a synthetic copy of the human gene myelin, said to help multiple sclerosis sufferers.
AgResearch's commercial arm Celentis is expected to turn over $35 million this financial year, while AgResearch itself has recorded a $7.59 million operating surplus before tax to June 30, 2001.

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