INDEPENDENT NEWS

Doubt Exists Over GE Animals In Human Food Chain

Published: Wed 21 Nov 2001 02:58 PM
GE Free NZ
Doubt Exists Over GE Animals In Human Food Chain
Press release
GE Free New Zealand in Food and Environment
Monday 21st November
Doubt exists over GE animals in human food chain.
Government failing to respect intent of Royal Commission's recommendations on ethical and cultural risks
GE Free New Zealand is concerned the government is being cynical in its attempt to avoid the ethical issues raised at the Royal Commission on GE animals, and doubt that government will guarantee that animals used as bioreactors will not enter the food chain. According to Investigate magazine's informant the offspring of experimental animals are already entering the food chain in New Zealand, in which case any promises from the government to the contrary demands immediate action , not just PR spin.
In a recent report from America, 3 GE pigs produced with a human gene were unknowingly stolen, processed and sold as human food. Several different controls imposed on GE research on trials to date have failed, GE zebra fish were stolen from a lab, a tent around GE canola was damaged, eggs from GE salmon were able to escape from trials just in New Zealand. Many other instances have also occurred overseas.
"With the continuation of this questionable research in the open environment, risks to public health and our agricultural exports will worsen. The Commission recommended that non-food animals be used as bioreactors both for ethical, cultural and food-safety reasons, but government have chosen to ignore their advice," said a spokesperson for GE Free NZ. "Recent cross species infection in the Waikato which resulted in cancelled overseas orders; show how sensitive our overseas markets are to this type of problem."
The government is wrong to claim it is "accepting the intent of this recommendation" when it is pretending it is just a matter of keeping the animals off the supermarket shelves. It shows no commitment to public concerns, and government are pandering solely to government backed, publicly funded research CRI's, who, aligning themselves with overseas interests carry out unethical experiments that would never be permitted overseas.
If experimentation in the environment for 10,000 sheep with human genes has been approved as a trial, then what will result from the governments decision to allow GE experiments with medical applications. No information is available on what criteria the government will consider constitutes an application with potential medical benefits, yet already a further application from Agresearch for pharmaceutical purposes is in the offing.
In America they are now growing tobacco with human genes under the guise of medical benefits, our governments decision means that the public will need to be vigilant to ensure New Zealand does not become a South Pacific Bhopal.
ENDS

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