Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search


Genetic engineering boosts animal tests

New Zealand's rush to embrace genetic engineering is boosting the number of tests on animals, Green Party Co-Leader Jeanette Fitzsimons said today.

Last year 308,562 animals were used in all research, up nearly 40 percent on the 220,990 used the previous year, according to the annual report of the National Animal Ethics Committee. The figures indicate 32.4 percent experienced "no suffering" 56 percent "little suffering", 9 percent "moderate suffering", and 2.2 percent "very severe suffering".

"Because our regulatory authorities allow genetic experiments to proceed in laboratories without a public hearing process, we don't have official numbers on what percentage of the rise is caused by biotechnology," Ms Fitzsimons said. "Public input is allowed only for field trials and proposed commercial releases of genetically engineered animals and crops.

"But I know, sometimes from anonymous tip offs, that the number of animals used in genetic engineering research in crown research institutes is burgeoning."

Little is known of the plight of animals in most experiments until applications are made for field tests, such as in the case of AgResearch's efforts at Ruakura, Hamilton, to put human genes into dairy cows and human protein into milk, Ms Fitzsimons said.

"Taxpayers spent more than $450,000 for an experiment to create deformed mice which were tested before trying to take similar DNA out of cows and replacing it with human genes."

As AgResearch says in its own summary of the test: "The most striking effect arising from deletion of the STAT5b gene in mice is the loss of sexual dimorphism in body growth rates and liver gene expression. In addition, mammary development is impaired in the STAT5b-deficient mice and very little milk is produced after parturition. Other phenotypic effects include reduced fatness, changes in hair growth, and abortion before day 17 of pregnancy."

According to Ms Fitzsimons: "It is a sad fact that we do not know how cows and other animals are faring in similar but confidential laboratory experiments."

© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Zimbabwe: New Democracy, Or A False Dawn?

Gordon Campbell: Robert Mugabe = Hosni Mubarak. The current jubilation on the streets of Harare at the fall of Zimbabwe’s dictator Robert Mugabe is genuine, and one hates to be negative about the country’s future. Yet the situation is eerily similar to the scenes in Cairo in early 2011, when a popular uprising swept Hosni Mubarak from power in Egypt. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On The New Pike River Agency (And The Air Strike Wing)

Much of the sympathy the public still feels for the families of the Pike River miners has been sustained by the sense that the previous government – let alone the mining company and the processes of receivership and litigation – has never dealt honestly, or fairly, with them. More>>


Not Going Swimmingly: Contractor Cut, New Dates For Christchurch Sports Centre

“As an incoming Minister, I have been conducting a thorough review of progress on the Anchor projects and to learn of a $75 million budget blowout on this project was very disappointing..." More>>


Tertiary: Allowances, Loan Living Costs To Get Boost

“From 1 January, student allowance base rates and the maximum amount students can borrow for living costs will rise by a net $50 a week,” says Education Minister Chris Hipkins... further adjusted from 1 April 2018 in line with any increase in the CPI. More>>


Foreign Affairs: Patrick Gower Interviews Jacinda Ardern

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says discussions have already begun on how to bring climate change refugees into New Zealand under a Pacific seasonal employment plan... More>>


Gordon Campbell: On The Centre Right’s Love Of ‘Nanny State’

You’d almost think it was 2005 again. That was a time when the rugged individualists of the centre-right were being beset by government regulations on the nature of light-bulbs, the size of shower heads, the junk food available at school tuck shops and other such essentials... More>>

Speaking Of Transport: Public Engagement On Wellington Scenarios

“Our work on possible solutions for Wellington’s transport future is ongoing, but has progressed to the stage where we’re ready to share our ideas with the public and seek their feedback to help guide our next steps...” More>>





Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election