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Gene Cow Decision Tragic For Science

The call for cows injected with a synthetic human protein to be killed following a court decision would be tragic for New Zealand, National's Research Science and Technology spokesperson Maurice Williamson said today.

"The court decision to overturn ERMA approval for AgResearch's Multiple Sclerosis research was one based on a technical, procedural point, not the substance of science and our ability to help medical development.

"Decisions about this type of research should be based on science. It is not for the courts to become the pseudo regulator of genetic engineering.

"The Government must move to prevent the courts interfering in what should be a science matter. National would welcome a briefing from the Government and would be willing to consider supporting any credible initiative that would ensure the huge amount of science and financial investment that has gone into this MS research will not be lost.

"National will support any legislation that is needed to give decision-making powers to ERMA and stop the interference by other bodies.

"It will be tragic for New Zealand's future if we prevent science based research. This sort of decision could ruin our ability to take advantage of new biotechnologies and genetic engineering that have delivered such phenomenal benefits to the world.

"It is a real shame that the courts have bowled this research on an issue of process," Mr Williamson said.


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