11/10/2008

Public Own New Zealand Brand, Not AgResearch

 

AgResearch must withdraw their applications to ERMA to commercialise GE animals, out of respect for widespread public opposition to the plans.

A nation-wide survey of over 1000 people* shows a majority of New Zealanders are emphatically opposed to GE animals. The survey confirms concerns that AgResearch’s proposals go against community values, threatening New Zealand’s future and the national interest.

“The public are saying ‘no’ to AgResearch’s plans to commercialise GE animals. Their plans will forever undermine New Zealand’s Brand reputation, but they do not have a right to do that,” says Jon Carapiet from GE Free NZ in food and environment.

“The New Zealand public own Brand New Zealand ; not AgResearch or Fonterra. Actions that undermine the value and integrity of that image harm the wider community, exporters and the country as a whole.”

The survey shows GE animals are unacceptable to twice as many New Zealanders as those supporting them (27%). One in five people surveyed (18%) ‘don’t know’ and demand more information on exactly what AgResearch is planning. But two out of three people (67%) who express an opinion are clear in their opposition to GE animals.

From comments gathered in the survey it is clear that even amongst people supporting GE animals, many would oppose the commercial production of pharmaceuticals in cloned animals. Their basis for support is only for research into cures for serious diseases and on the provision that no animals suffer.

“AgResearch’s applications do not meet these basic criteria,” says Jon Carapiet.

“Even supporters express a clear expectation that the public will be fully informed on a case-by-case basis for each experiment, with transparent and fully independent scrutiny. And most New Zealanders don’t support them at all.”

But AgResearch are deliberately cutting the public out of the process by making ‘generic’ applications for indefinite and wide-ranging commercial approvals. As a result of an approval by ERMA the public will continue to be denied basic information.

AgResearch must accept that their plans are unacceptable for most New Zealanders. They should withdraw the applications, and look for projects that can meet community cultural values and ethical standards, and which keep New Zealand’s Brand reputation intact.

ENDS

Contact: Jon Carapiet 0210507681

References:

The Colmar Brunton Omnijet survey was commissioned by Soil and Health and SAFE in September 2008. The survey includes hundreds of verbatim comments explaining reasons for supporting or opposing GE animals. For details contact:

Stefan Browning at www.organicnz.org 021 725 655

Hans Kriek, at SAFE: 027 446 2711

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