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Greens urge halt to more GE animal experiments

17 April 2000

Greens urge halt to more GE animal experiments

Green Party MP Sue Kedgley said it is a huge mistake to allow new field trials of genetically engineered animals to go ahead while the Royal Commission of Inquiry into genetic engineering is sitting.

Today’s announcement establishes a voluntary moratorium on commercial release of genetically engineered organisms but will allow experiments, some involving inserting human genes into animals, to begin following Environmental Risk Management Authority (ERMA) approval, Ms Kedgley said.

“It is highly inappropriate for publicly funded Crown Research Institutes to proceed with these sort of controversial animal experiments at a time when the ethical and safety issues surrounding them are being debated by the Royal Commission,” she said.

New Zealanders have never debated whether or not they believe it is acceptable to clone and genetically engineer animals which may be deformed in various ways and suffer as a result, said Ms Kedgley. Nor have they discussed whether they believe it is acceptable to insert human genes into animals.

Ms Kedgley today called on the Minister of Science and Technology to direct Crown Research Institutes to halt all new outdoor genetic engineering field trials, including those involving transgenic animals.

“Mr Hodgson should direct tax-payer funded Crown Research Institutes to follow Monsanto’s lead and postpone the commencement of all field trials which have not yet received approval from the Environmental Risk Management Authority (ERMA),” Ms Kedgley said.

“In particular the application to place human genes into cows and to produce genetically engineered double muscled sheep should be stopped in their tracks because ERMA has not yet given its approval for these applications.”

Monsanto withdrew its application to field test genetically engineered wheat on 7 February this year pending the outcome of the Royal Commission of Inquiry.

“If Monsanto can respect the spirit of this inquiry, then taxpayer owned organisations simply must,” she said.

Ends

Sue Kedgley MP: 04 470 6728, 025 270 9088
Jonathan Hill (press secretary) 04 470 6719, 021 110 1133

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