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Cow With Human Genes Trial Should Be Terminated

www.gefree.org.nz
11 May 2001

Cow with human genes trial should be terminated and application re-heard in light of new evidence of risk See Article "SUPERBUGS SPREADING UNDER GROUND" Press Assoc. London. Dominion 20.4.01

Researchers in the US have discovered bacteria in soil and groundwater beneath farms are acquiring genes from bacteria originating in pigs' guts, they fear this could provide a route for potentially dangerous bugs to reach people and the wider environment. Will the use of copies of human genes increase the possible chances of this occurrence. It is unlikely that ERMA have reviewed this new evidence in respect of this application.It is believed that as few as 11 of the
60 foetuses may remain viable, the rest 'slipped' aborted, as frequently happens with such experiments.

Effluent waste from cows with human genes, and its effect on ground water will still not to be properly addressed unless the ERMA decision is dramatically different from the last. New evidence of risks should be a wake-up call for New Zealand dairy and other producers, yet it seems many bureaucrats, farming groups, and government ministers are choosing to ignore them.

"ERMA can be viewed as making a poorly considered judgement, - and this unfolding scientific evidence highlight the urgent need for the report of the Royal Commission to inform government decision-making," says Jon Carapiet, spokesperson from GE free New Zealand. "This is especially important in relation to irreversible pollution and legal liability, given the insurance industry's refusal to cover GE risk. Without a vision of sustainable primary production it is possible, and more than likely, that long before the products of these GM cows successfully cure any human disease, people will be eating them."

Arguments in support of using the genetically modified cows as bio-reactors to make bulk- medicine contrast starkly with the less acceptable use of such animals as a source of modified dairy foods. Given agriculture ministers' Jim Sutton's avid support it is most likely the cows are part of our journey towards a new wave of GM products intended to bring consumer appeal to the technology.

"The minister came out fighting in defence of "human progress" without engaging in any critique of the medical benefits, or the real implications for New Zealand farming and exports." said Jon. "However revelations that other sources of the myelin protein are already available and a report in The Lancet of October 2000 on myelin research, have supported the view that the medical objectives in this particular project may be quite incidental.'
"The fate of the experimental animals remains uncertain, but we dont want to eat them"

ENDS

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