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Agresearch & Monsanto’s GE Corn

Groundswell Press Release – Agresearch & Monsanto’s GE Corn - 23/01/02

The application by AgResearch to ERMA to genetically engineer sheep, deer, and human genes into cattle makes a mockery of the whole Royal Commission process, Groundswell spokesperson Tremane Barr said today.

“The Royal Commission on Genetic Modification had many submissions from people from all walks of life, both Pakeha and Maori, who find the concept of putting different species genes into completely unrelated species ethically, morally and spiritually abhorrent. People particularly object to putting human genes into animals like cows and this led the Royal Commission to recommend, ‘that, wherever possible, non-food animals, or animals less likely to find their way into the food chain be used as bioreactors rather than animals that are a common source of food.’ Agresearch have completely disregarded this recommendation and it makes a mockery of the $6m spent on the Royal Commission by the government to have a government owned and run entity put in the first application to ERMA since the Commissions report which is in contravention of a recommendation.”

“AgResearch know it is possible to use other laboratory contained means such as using tissue cultures to achieve the same results. If government run organisations like AgResearch have no intention of even trying to comply with the Commissions recommendations then why should anybody else bother.”

“At the end of the day the key ethical, moral and spiritual objection Groundswell and many other people have to putting human genes into animals is that the ends do not justify the means. This is lazy and shoddy science at its most arrogant.”

Groundswell have also put in a submission to ANZFA today criticising the scientific stance Monsanto have taken in trying to justify the safety of their GM corn that can be sprayed with Roundup.

Spokesperson Tremane Barr said, “Monsanto have claimed its GE corn is substantially equivalent to ordinary corn. This is in spite of Steve Druker of the American Alliance for Biointegrity http://www.biointegrity.org/ presenting in his written evidence to the Royal Commission on Genetic Modification (RCGM) copies of numerous memos written by U.S. Food and Drug Administration agency’s scientific staff demonstrating, ‘that the predominant opinion of these experts was that GM foods entail unique risks, especially the risk of containing unintended and unpredictable new substances that could be harmful to human health. They cautioned that to screen for such risks, every GM food must be subjected to rigorous testing that includes toxicological feeding studies employing the whole food.’ Our submissions details how on the basis of sound science why ANZFA have no good scientific reason to believe the safety of Monsanto’s GE corn for human consumption. There has been no such rigorous testing or toxicological feeding studies done on the GE corn apart from feeding some mice on it for nine days.”

“In light of AgResearch and Monsanto’s arrogance in the way they disregard sound science and the ethical, moral and spiritual issues surrounding their work it is no wonder so many in society are standing up to oppose genetic engineering in all its forms.” said Tremane Barr.


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