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David Bellamy Stuns The NZ Science Community

David Bellamy, Stuns The New Zealand Science Community

World famous science entertainer, Dr David Bellamy, stunned the New Zealand science community today by asserting the SARS virus was the result of genetic engineering. Although there has been some recent media speculation about the origins of the virus no reputable scientist has claimed the virus was deliberately bio-engineered.

Bellamy made an impassioned plea on National Radio in New Zealand against the further development of genetic modification and also claimed that research undertaken by Dr Arpad Pusztai of the Rowett Institute on pigs (in fact the study involved rats) showed the development of colon cancer on the animals fed with GM food.

In New Zealand to speak to a local government conference about environmental matters, Dr Bellamy professed himself a strong supporter of an extension of the moratorium on applications for commercial release which expires in October.

Life Sciences Network Executive Director, Francis Wevers, responded to the Bellamy interview in an email to National Radio.

“It’s a pity your interview with David Bellamy, the science entertainer, forgot to mention the fact that we will have a regulatory process by the end of October which will address all the issues you are concerned about, as recommended by the Royal Commission on Genetic Modification.

We will be able to make our decisions about what uses of GM are appropriate in New Zealand in a measured and deliberate way, taking into account the views of any member of the public who wishes to be heard.

The Environmental Risk Management Authority will be able to impose conditions on proposed releases to protect our environment and our national economic interest.

Growers and farmers are rational business people and thus they will only use those GM crops which will produce a profit or other benefits for their farming operation, such as reduced chemical usage.

Dr Bellamy has done much to bring science to a wider audience for many years. It’s a pity he hasn’t been as thorough in his study of the GM issues in New Zealand and in his own country – his lack of knowledge of the Pusztai study, which was on rats not pigs, and his outrageous claim that SARS came from a genetically modified organism, undermined an otherwise valuable contribution.”

From the LSN news team

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