GE Calves Illegal After High Court Decision
Expected GE Calves Illegal After High Court Decision
The Green Party is calling for cows pregnant with genetically engineered embryos to be humanely euthanised after a landmark High Court decision set aside approval for the experiment.
"The transgenic calves with human genes would be a new organism, and as such they must by law be destroyed once they are born because they do not have Environmental Risk Management Authority approval to exist," said Green Party co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons.
"As the High Court has set aside ERMA's approval and ordered the field trial application to be reconsidered from scratch, these genetically engineered calves would be illegal if they were allowed to be live.
"I understand the High Court made no specific direction about the future of the surrogate cows, but I also understand that AgResearch's normal practice would be to put them down some time after the birth."
Ms Fitzsimons said it was distressing that 60 innocent cows and the transgenic calves they were carrying could all be put down because of a human mess. However she said it was more humane to euthanase a pregnant cow than to wait until it gave birth and then kill both animals.
"The Greens have always opposed this experiment on animal welfare grounds, because cows are treated as disposable production units or commodities. The process of creating a genetically engineered embryo is painful, inhumane and degrading for the animals involved, and the natural mothers are killed routinely after their eggs have been taken."
Ms Fitzsimons said the Greens welcomed the High Court decision which put the onus squarely on ERMA to lift their game.
"The Minister for the Environment has a responsibility to make sure that ERMA is listening to all sides of the story before making decisions, and following the correct process. If the public does not have confidence in the process, then they won't respect ERMA's decisions or have faith in the body to protect our environment.
"The High Court found fault with the way ERMA dealt with this field trial application, and that calls into questions all their other decisions on field trial applications - especially since they have never turned one down."
Jeanette will be asking Question 7 on this issue in the House today