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Life Science Network Advertisement

Press Release from PSRG - Physicians and Scientists for Responsible Genetics

Wednesday, 24 July 2002.

PSRG (www.psrg.org.nz) has no affiliations with industry or any political party.

Life Science Network Advertisement

Physicians and Scientists for Responsible Genetics are disappointed to see that the LSN has committed the very fault they attribute in their ad to "anti GE fanatics" - misinformation.

Most New Zealanders urging caution with genetic engineering experimentation are not suggesting research stop. They simply ask that our health and our environment be protected.

Over 90 percent of transgenic crops are confined to the American Continent. Official data shows the increase in plantings has slowed considerably - in 2002 GE soy grew 4 percent, cotton 3 percent and corn 4 percent - while organics increased 25 percent in the UK and Canada. European and Asian export markets have barred GE imports. US farmers feel betrayed because the promised benefits have failed to materialise.

US farmers will receive up to US$190bn in subsidies over the next decade. Soy alone is carried by an almost 70 percent subsidy. Share price indexes reflect investors' disappointment. Monsanto shares are down about 52 percent in value in one year. The Scottish Farmers Union declared that planting transgenic crops was economic suicide. Insurance companies have put GE alongside nuclear accidents, war and Acts of God: they will not insure the risks. Do such moves reflect a growing, profitable industry?

New Zealand scientists are "in a very good position to be the world leader in GE technology." They could undertake studies to substantiate the claims made against GE human insulin; around 20 percent of users have problems. Or they could test for allergenic reaction in consumers, including infants, to the Cry9C protein in StarLink corn using sound scientific protocols. They could run independent food safety tests to ensure consumer safety.

New Zealand science could ride the knowledge wave - by keeping genetic engineering in the laboratory and thus keeping it safe. Since transgenic research outside the Laboratory represents only a tiny fraction of the research being undertaken in NZ this is not a big ask.

(322 words)

PSRG (www.psrg.org.nz) has no affiliations with industry or any political party.

Enquiries to 64 7 576 5721 or
roberta@clear.net.nz

Spokespersons: John Clearwater PhD - 09 828 3339 or 025 224 8955; Dr Paul Butler 09 445 9054

ENDS


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