INDEPENDENT NEWS

ERMA'S Approval For GM Cattle Is A Disaster

Published: Wed 2 Oct 2002 08:23 AM
MEDIA RELEASE
ERMA'S Approval For Gm Cattle Research Is A Human And Animal Disaster For Nz
The Environmental Risk Management Authority's illegal approval of the AgResearch application to continue unfettered research into genetic modification of cattle is an abuse of scientific protocols and a disaster waiting to happen for New Zealand. That's according to scientific researcher and health practitioner, Claire Bleakley.
Mrs Bleakley made a submission to the ERMA hearing last month that said the application was illegal as it contravened the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act (HSNO). She said today ERMA has granted AgResearch blanket approval for a low risk development procedure when in fact they will conduct a high-risk field trial that is not allowed under the HSNO Act or the moratorium. The blanket approval for the research allows for little public accountability or input. Even though the controls more detailed than the previous approvals, the Authority is acting illegally.
Mrs Bleakley said New Zealanders are not aware of the massive risk to the environment, humans and animals and the controls are not a substitute for the illegality of the application. The controls place no obligation on AgResearch to monitor for morphological, histological changes when deaths or illness occur. The continued permission to use viral pathogens, like vectors and promoters ,only increases the risk of horizontal gene transfer (HGT) and the creation of new virulent diseases. She said 'ERMA is not furthering the ends of creating human medicines it is ensuring that the possibility of new ones occur.
The AgResearch project involves furthering the current transgenic experiments in cattle and Mrs Bleakley said this should never have been approved until the previous experiments had been assessed for safety. She expressed grave concern as the Ministry for the Environment has just released "Improving the operation of the HSNO Act for new organisms" to now legalise this illegal experiment and its controls. She said " The Minister and the ERMA Authority refuse to understand that it does not matter how often the Act is changed it will not make genetic modification safe. It shows that New Zealand has become a pawn in the biotechnology disaster that is unfolding."
Mrs Bleakley will be considering taking legal advice as to whether the Environmental Minister has over-stepped her duties by showing a conflict of interest. She says that by changing the Act the Minister can no longer protect the New Zealand public.
Contact: Claire Bleakley
BSc/Psyc, R.C.Homoeopath, Medical Herbalist
Pigeon Bush, Featherston RD3
06 3089842

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