Video | Business Headlines | Internet | Science | Scientific Ethics | Technology | Search

 

New Zealand Taxpayer 'designer' cows. Buyer beware

New Zealand Taxpayer 'designer' cows. Buyer beware.

New Zealand taxpayer funded 'designer' cows has cost New Zealand over 12 million dollars for15 transgenic cows already. The private/ public partnership of PPL and AgResearch has bred only eleven 'Casein-plus' cows from 120 surrogate cows over two seasons. 30 'designer' calves reached term, 18 were alive and 12 dead at birth. Of the remaining twelve calves, post-natal losses caused six deaths, five died of enteritis or unidentifiable cause and one of abdominal perforation. Five were delivered by caesarian section. Only nine of the eleven surviving have shown an increase in casein production.

"Previous transgenic breeding trials have shown the animals do not breed true. By the third generation the improvement has gone. The gene becomes recessive and there is no significant transgene impact. However, the immune failures are still predominant". Says Claire Bleakley from GE Free (NZ) in Food and Environment.

For the farmer this means buying 'designer' cows carrying the cost of the patent but then not being able to sell on progeny. These cows pose a threat to the entire dairy industry. The cows are immune deficient and susceptible to immune system failure raising the cost of veterinary bills. To breed up a production herd of 200 it would take twelve years, using gene transfer every year. Dairy cows need high quality feed, as the amount of grass and clover vary so does the milk fat content. These eleven 'designer' cows are pampered and are living on clover and good feed.

To process the milk all the dairy facilities and tankers would have to be segregated. The market would be closed to Europe and Japan. Conventional dairy farmers would have to keep their cows within buffer zones so as not to be accused of passing on normal diseases that would make the transgenic cows sick. Liability, if a transgenic cows went wild and mated other cows, could end up as a long court battle.

"Will the New Zealand taxpayer end up paying dearly if a transgenic pathogen is found?" Claire Bleakley is asking the Government, "We are in danger of creating a price war ending in a glut on the cheese and butter market, reduced prices for farmers and losses to the EU and Japanese market. Can the New Zealand beef and dairy industry afford to loose its high quality world standing when we are already achieving gains with conventional breeding programmes?"

End

Contact: Claire Bleakley (06) 3089842.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Dump Levy Options: Waste Work Programme Announced

Associate Environment Minister Eugenie Sage has announced a programme of work to take action on New Zealand’s long-neglected waste problems. More>>

ALSO:

Real Estate: Foreign Buyers Ban Passes Third Reading

The Bill to put in place the Government’s policy of banning overseas buyers of existing homes has passed its third and final reading in the House. More>>

ALSO:

Nine Merger: Fairfax Slashes Value Of NZ Business

Fairfax Media Group more than halved the value of its Kiwi assets, attaching just A$40 million to mastheads that were once the core of a billion dollar investment. More>>

Collecting Scalpers: Commerce Commission To Sue Viagogo

The Commission will claim that Viagogo made false or misleading representations: • that it was an “official” seller, when it was not • that tickets were limited or about to sell out • that consumers were “guaranteed” to receive valid tickets for their event • about the price of tickets... More>>

ALSO:

Price Of Cheese: Fonterra CEO Goes Early After Milk Price Trimmed

Aug. 15 (BusinessDesk) - Fonterra Cooperative Group chief executive Theo Spierings is leaving the role early after the world's biggest dairy exporter lowered its farmgate payout and trimmed its dividend to retain cash. More>>

ALSO: