11/08/2008

AgResearch Vision Won't Fit With Clean Green New Zealand

 

The proposals made by AgReseach for New Zealand to become a 'GE-animal farm' for chemicals are a threat to New Zealand's clean green natural image, and national identity.

There are alternative uses of genetics that AgResearch should focus on. To protect the country's reputation for clean natural food they need to comply with a biotechnology strategy that respects our uniqueness and shared values.

"This is the extreme science of Pharmaceutical Animals and damages our Brand image. There has to be a middle path that uses gene technology without unethical or cruel uses of animals," says Jon Carapiet from GE Free NZ in food and environment."This isn't it."

The new applications to ERMA appear like a frenzy of mad scientist dreams for transforming New Zealand into a biotechnology playground. But forcing that vision will be a marketing disaster and undermine our economy.

The economy relies on an existing vision of New Zealand defined by people at home and overseas as clean, green and natural. What is needed is ethical science and commercial projects to fit that.

AgResearch must come up with ideas that protect what consumers around the world most value about products from New Zealand. They propose genetically engineering animals so they can all be made into creatures that lay pharmaceutical 'golden eggs'. In the process they will kill the 'goose' that is already laying, and that New Zealanders most treasure.
Ends
Jon Carapiet 0210507681

Ref:
Purposes of Application

AgResearch seeks approval in this application to field test transgenic animals with a range of genetic modifications and maintain the livestock for research, breeding and for the production of antigens, biopharmaceuticals, enzymes, hormones and other products with commercial applications for release

Eight years ago, AgResearch obtained the first of a series of approvals from the Environmental Risk Management Authority (ERMA), to undertake specific transgenic work with cows. In recent years AgResearch scientists have developed and bred small herds of several transgenic cattle lines. As a result of this work, AgResearch has now developed a world leading capability in transgenic livestock research and development. In addition, AgResearch has freedom to operate with all relevant transgenic technologies and New Zealand is free of certain animal diseases such as transmissible spongiform encephalopathies. This positions AgResearch and New Zealand to take a leading international role in commercial applications of transgenic livestock.

AgResearch wishes to apply its capability in areas which support AgResearch’s Mission to create sustainable wealth in New Zealand’s pastoral and biotechnology sectors. Appendix I is a summary of AgResearch’s 2020 Science strategy, five “Big ideas” that AgResearch is seeking to achieve in response to the challenges or opportunities facing the pastoral sector.

AgResearch is therefore seeking long term approval to develop and field test genetically modified livestock (cows, buffalo, sheep, pigs, goats, llamas, alpacas, deer, and horses).

The purposes for which AgResearch will utilise the approval will depend on the needs of the pastoral sector, commercial opportunities for transgenic livestock-derived products, the applications of transgenic technologies to those needs and consumer attitudes to particular uses of genetic modification. AgResearch believes these purposes will include:



Products with commercial applications: Undertake research and maintain and breed livestock for production of:
therapeutic proteins
proteins for use as diagnostics for human and animal disease
other products derived from livestock with commercial applications
Enhancement of livestock traits: Maintain and breed livestock for research into enhancement of traits of value in livestock including productivity, welfare and sustainability
Animal models of human gene function and physiology: Maintain and breed livestock for use in research as models for human gene function and physiology
Transgenic techniques; gene function: Maintain and breed livestock for research into transgenic techniques and gene function to support the above purposes and, if discoveries of general application are made in the course of such research, for further research into such discoveries.

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