PO Box 13402
Wellington, New Zealand

GE-Free New Zealand

in food and environment (RAGE Inc.)

GE Animals

AgResearch : putting New Zealand at risk

It's NOT O.K.

AgResearch : putting New Zealand at risk.  It’s NOT O.K.

Government research institute ‘AgResearch’ has applied to develop genetically modified (GM) animals and commercialise their products.
This move could pose the single biggest threat to farm animals and New Zealand’s cultural identity.
If approved, AgResearch will be able to conduct broad-ranging genetic experiments on cows, goats, sheep, pigs, deer, llama, horses, rats, mice, guinea pigs, rabbits, and chickens. They will even use cells taken from humans and monkeys.

Their intention is to mix genes from different species to make transgenic animals. The process creates animal deformities, and new risks to human health, the environment and our reputation.
It’s not ok  for overseas biotech investors to exploit New Zealand as an experimental playground when the public is liable for costs of clean-up when things go wrong.

It’s not ok to create deformities and suffering in animals in order to make ‘cheaper’ pharmaceuticals, when other production methods are available
It’s not ok to undermine New Zealand’s reputation and brand-image as a producer of safe, natural, clean food the world wants
It’s not ok to genetically engineer animals with human genes and have no respect for the integrity of species, just to make ‘healthier’ nutriceutical milks
It’s not ok to deliberately create sick animals as ‘models’ of human disease when the Bioethics Council has called for an ethical review of such practices
It’s not ok to risk creating new diseases by experimenting on NZ animals when they are currently free of Mad Cow Disease and Scrapie
It’s not ok for GE animal waste to be used as compost or sprayed onto fields and to then refuse to monitor the effects on the environment

We Don’t Need Genetically Modified Animals

There are other ways to manufacture pharmaceuticals and other ethical uses of biotechnology to benefit New Zealand.
Many people and organisations including GE Free NZ, SAFE, the Green Party, The Soil and Health Association, Greenpeace, and most members of the public oppose the “GE” vision for New Zealand’s future.

What Next?
Help protect New Zealand. Please add your support against AgResearch’s applications.

1) Request that ERMA declines AgResearch. Your thoughts on the issue are especially important. Visit www.giantexperiment.co.nz for information on how to write a submission and more reasons.

Deadline for submissions 31 October 2008.
For details and on-line submissions against: Application GMC07012 to import live animals, sperm, embryos, human and monkey cell-lines, to develop GE animals; Application GMD08012 for indoor development of GE animals for research, breeding and production; Application GMF07001 for field tests in outdoor containment; Application GMD07074 allowing outdoor production. Applications which can be viewed at www.ermanz.govt.nz.

 2) Write to Prime Minister Helen Clark and John Key politely asking they use Ministerial powers to ‘call in’ the applications given the national significance : Helen.Clark@parliament.govt.nz  John.Key@parliament.govt.nz

3) Ask AgResearch to withdraw their applications and instead apply for ethical projects that better reflect New Zealand’s cultural values and image. 
Email james.suttie@agresearch.co.nz Information to oppose the AgResearch applications (see  www.giantexperiment.co.nz for other points to make)

GM Undermines the New Zealand Brand
Genetic Modification (also called GE: genetic engineering) is experimental and has raised safety and cultural issues all over the world. Most consumers do not want it. We cannot afford to compromise New Zealand's clean, green reputation, cause widespread animal suffering and put New Zealanders at needless risk for the sake of greed and wishful thinking. AgResearch’s four applications to ERMA are extremely vague, and leave the public liable when things go wrong.

Increased animal suffering

The development of Genetically Modified animals makes them prone to increased levels of suffering. Previous experiments show GM newborn calves, for example, are more likely to be born with serious deformities. GM cows can experience gangrenous udders, mastitis and are highly susceptible to respiratory and septic conditions.
AgResearch seeks to use recipient animals as surrogate mothers to carry GM embryos. Recipient animals are often aborted at around 60 days and the foetus cells harvested to produce new embryos.

Harm to our environment
AgResearch plans to have research or testing facilities around New Zealand, including in the Waikato, Canterbury and Southland regions. The risk of a breach in biosecurity or site contamination can never be eliminated and would jeopardise New Zealand reputation for clean, safe, natural food. Animal waste from GM animals will be used as compost or sprayed onto fields without any adequate monitoring of the environmental effects.

Unethical conduct
AgResearch will genetically engineer animals with human genes. They will deliberately create sick animals as ‘models’ of human disease despite the Bioethics Council calling for an ethical review of such practices.

Risk of disease

New Zealand animals are currently free of many highly contagious diseases such as Mad Cow Disease (BSE) and Scrapie (Foot and Mouth) making it an attractive testing ground for overseas biotech investors. Genetically modifying animals risks creating new diseases in animals or in people consuming milk and other products made from the animals. Under the law the public pays if unexpected problems arise.
(see www.giantexperiment.co.nz for other points to make)