INDEPENDENT NEWS

Public Opinion Supports GE Free Environment & Food

Published: Tue 28 Aug 2001 12:37 AM
The realisation by government of the strength of feeling amongst New
Zealanders against experiments outside the lab has triggered a stay for the
voluntary moratorium and a proposed extension for 2-5 years on commercial
growing.
After the ailing biotech industry yesterday declared they would be happy for
the government to take more time in their decision making, Marian Hobbs
declared an extension to GE trial moratorium.
GE Free exports can only be supported by a ban on all trials involving
genetically modified organisms until further scientific research proves
longterm safety both to environment and human health.
" Only a total ban on field trials will allow for our expanding exports of
GE Free agricultural produce, both conventional and organic, to be
sustained. GE has no place in quality NZ primary production."stated Susie
Lees, secretary from GE Free New Zealand in Food and Environment, "A
sensible time frame for a compulsary moratorium on all GE field trials and
commercial releases would be 3-5 years. This allows time for independent
research and would better 'preserve opportunities'."
A new category of 'conditional' release proposed by the Royal Commission
report would allow for extended field trials similar to those approved in
1999 by ERMA for 10,000 sheep with human genes by PPL Therapeutics in the
Waikato.
A trial of this kind would never be permitted in the UK where BSE has proven
the huge risk of cross species infections. Biotech industries are currently
reported to be financially strapped, the huge costs of their inherently
risky research not always reflected by the efficacy of their products.
Ends

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