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NZ Horse industry must oppose GE vaccine

NZ Horse industry must oppose GE vaccine      19 June 08


The New Zealand horse industry faces devastation of its reputation as well as real risks to animal health from plans to allow a GE vaccine.

Having already taken the high-ground of quality assurance by establishing a policy against cloning, the industry must now work together to oppose the introduction of the GE vaccine being considered for release by ERMA. 

Damage to the industry resulting from a decision to allow the GE vaccine into New Zealand may include horses being banned from other countries, rejected for race meets or refused as breeding animals.

At a minimum there are likely to be adverse reactions in animals, including serious side-effects.

Worse would be contamination of soil across land where horses are kept and unexpected harmful effects on horses and other species of stock, as well as for future land-values. UK landowners have faced loss of value for land used in GM experiments and contamination from the GE vaccine could leave the horse industry facing the same.

But at worst the GE vaccine could result in the development of new disease as a result of unexpected recombination of gene constructs that past research into GE organisms shows can be inherently unstable.

In this worse-case scenario and under cover of an ERMA-authorisation, liability for clean up and damage to the industry could fall to ratepayers across the country, as well as innocent farmers and breeders accidentally embroiled despite their non-use of the vaccine.

Quarantine imposed as a result of the vaccine creating unexpected harm to animals and the environment would further devastate the industry, and exceed the harm from controls currently used when an outbreak of equine flu takes place.

GE Free NZ (in food and environment) urges all sectors of the horse industry to work together to oppose the application for the GE vaccine which is better considered as a Trojan horse more likely to harm their industry than help it.


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