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Call for permanent ban on human cloning in NZ

GE Free New Zealand
In Food And Environment, Inc.

PRESS RELEASE – 7 November 2002


Call for permanent ban on human cloning in New Zealand

This week's derailment by the American government of an international United Nations Treaty that would put in place a global ban on the cloning of human beings has renewed concerns held by GE Free New Zealand ( in food and environment.)

"The technology for cloning human beings already exists right now and we know that at least one group of people lead by Italian gynaecologist Severino Antinori are well advanced in their plans to give birth to thefirst cloned human being. The government needs to take the lead on this and put in place a permanent ban on human cloning in NZ, not wait for another year for the UN Treaty." warns GE Free NZ spokesperson on Transhuman Eugenics Tremane Barr.

Antinori has been reported in Le Monde as stating that three women are currently pregnant with cloned babies with births due to take place inDecember and January.

"From a health perspective human cloning represents a threat to the health of the cloned babies themselves. We know from animal cloning that on average 99% of pregnancies end in failure; with a high percentage of the 1% that do survive to term dying due to health problems soon after birth.
Survivors often end up suffering abnormally high health problems due to the cloning process damaging their chromosomes and genes to some degree." said Tremane Barr.

"However, it is the long term risks to human dignity and equality and thethreats these pose to the social stability of our society from human cloning that are our primary reason for calling on the government to permanently ban human reproductive cloning here in New Z.ealand"

The Americans and a minority of other nations have chosen to delay the UNanti-cloning treaty process due to their insistence that it should also include a ban on therapeutic cloning as well. Therapeutic cloning is where human embryos are cloned for medical research, for example, in stem cell research using human embryos. Reproductive cloning is where a cell is taken from a human and grown into a copy of the individual from which it was taken.

"Due to our ethical, moral and spiritual objections to interference with the fundamentals of human life we also oppose therapeutic cloning. However, the immediate threat we face is from having humans cloned, and the top priority should be to have national and international bans put in place right
now. After that is in place we can then begin developing national and international legislation on therapeutic cloning." said Tremane Barr.

This new aspect to the campaigning of GE Free NZ in Food and Environment follows concerns raised by members at their Annual General Meeting about human cloning, and the genetic engineering of human beings . This has resulted in the creation of a new dimension to the anti-GE campaign and the creation of a new position of spokesperson on Transhuman Eugenics for GE Free NZ.

"We have until now focused on the threats that GE food and GMOs in the environment pose to our food supply, having little time to focus on the new eugenics technologies in cloning and designer human genetic engineering, however, we realise that Transhuman research poses a fundamental risk to human equality and dignity and the possible eugenic creation of a master race. "

"The first part of this campaign is to call on the government in the current HSNO amendment bill to permanently ban human cloning and inheritable genetic modification of human beings. After that is in place we need to have a wideranging debate within society via the new Bioethics Council of all the
implications of the new human genetic engineering technologies, such as somatic gene therapy and assisted reproductive technologies, so that any ethical application of them is sanctioned by society" said Tremane Barr.

ENDS

For further details, contact Tremane Barr:(03) 981-5235.


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