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Are Experimental GE Factory Farm Animals Vivisection?

AgResearch annual report (2019) on genetically engineered (GE) animal trials reinforce the findings of Friends of the Earth ‘Genetically Engineered Animals: From Lab to Factory Farm’ report [1]. The reports detail that all GE techniques have the ability to cause unintended effects leading to horrific suffering for the sentient animals who undergo the inhumane experiments.

Over the 19 years AgResearch has spent millions of dollars on bioreactor GE animals for pharmaceutical products. On the pretence of a climate change solution they toyed with GE for changing coat colour. [2].

“AgResearch’s genetic engineering (GE) animal experiments for 19 years have lurched from one failed speculative experiment to another, ignoring the suffering the GE animals sustain,” said Claire Bleakley, president of GE free NZ “It is not the coat colour that is the problem at AgResearch, it is the conditions that cows are kept in, without shelter or shade for their animals.”

Remember Daisy, the GE cow with no tail? She was euthanased on humane grounds at 3 years old; the three FSH “mutant” calves, two found dead one from the haemorrhage from a ruptured uterine artery, another with twisted oversized ovaries, the third euthanased? [3]

GE manipulation causes terrible abnormalities in the cows who carry the abhorrent mutant embryos, leading to around a 90% spontaneous abortion rate, dead foetuses or calves that die within 24 hours. The calves that survive are often euthanised on humane grounds after suffering from skeletal or organ problems, and many of the surviving progeny suffer sterility. There are off target effects such as the intended female goat embryos that produced sterile progeny with male genitalia [4]. Of the 60 GE embryo’s coding for coat colour only 3 calves were born live but were “not viable," they were all euthanased and their cells are now frozen. These failures have reportedly led AgResearch to close down most of the trials.

“It is appalling that they are conducting frivolous genotoxic experiments. AgResearch experimental vivisection, is not science but a loss of all moral and ethical values”. said Bleakley

“This is made worse by the continuing $10 million of taxpayer money from the Board of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment's (MBIE) financing the inhumane experiments, without any due diligence. MBIE is irresponsible to be giving money to the gravy train of failure”.

There are high performing animals available today that survive through all weather conditions. Why create GE suffering animals when all that was needed was planting some trees?

Government must not change New Zealand GE regulation, but move to support farmers to adopt regenerative, ecologic agriculture with its humane and small footprint instead of perpetuating cruel and frivolous GE animals trials that lead to costly failures.



[2] Comprehensive information on GM Animals from ERMA/EPA Annual Reports 2001-2019.

[3] Mutant cows die in GM trial

[4] GE Animals in New Zealand: The first 15 years.

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