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Why Should We Keep The GE Moratorium In Place?

Why Should We Keep The GE Moratorium In Place?

For decades the genetic engineering (GE) biotechnology PR campaign has worked overtime to hoodwink ministers and public into believing that this technology offers bonanzas for New Zealand. It is a moral, not economic or scientific, crisis which faces us with regard to the moratorium.

The GE controversy has been marked by a determination to ignore scientists who express any form of alternative viewpoint; the labels "Luddites," eco-terrorists" and "the sandal-and-beard brigade" wielded in attempts to discredit them. Doctors and scientists, such as those in PSRG (Physicians and Scientists for Responsible Genetics NZ), the British Medical Association and other overseas organizations, have come as near to shouting as they can, yet governments are ignoring their warnings concerning the release of genetically engineered organisms (GEOs).

Contrary to the claims of the LifeScience Network and transnational corporations, there is more than sufficient evidence of irreversible harm arising from the growing of GE crops. American farmers are begging their overseas counterparts not to plant GE crops. Export customers say they will not buy GE crops nor crops likely to be contaminated by transgenic DNA. Consumers overwhelmingly reject GE foods.

While biotechnology could indeed add to our "knowledge wave," genetic engineering biotechnology will not. It is a seriously flawed science and releasing its products into the environment will have irreversible consequences. Not only will our 'Clean Green Image' be irrevocably damaged, indications are that tourism would also suffer.

The adverse consequences of releasing genetically engineered organisms into the environment and food chain, like BSE, will not be a bolt from the blue, but the inevitable outcome of policies that put secrecy, self-protection and the interests of big business before those of the public. Quite apart from the fact that GE foods are (a) not wanted and (b) not needed, they have not been adequately tested for human consumption or environmental safety. Release will damage our reputation and harm our food exports. It will further consolidate the 'padlock' that transnational corporations have on the food supply. Contamination will mean the end of organic certification for farmers who have worked hard to gain that status, and even conventional farmers will suffer contamination as have overseas farmers. Our honey industry will also suffer.

Government must take the corporate fingers out of its ears and start listening to scientists not indentured to these industries.


Dr Robert Anderson

Member Physicians and Scientists for Responsible Genetics - NZ

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