20/05/2009

Inappropriate Science Investment Risks Pushing NZ Off-track

 

Warnings about the loss of valued scientists as a result of a cost cutting exercise must be balanced by properly focusing on the real needs of New Zealand's agricultural sector, not slavish emulation of other countries with a high-risk strategy.

Support for the wrong kinds of research could miss unique oportunities that suit this country and worse- undermine the very projects most valuable for the future of the New Zealand brand.
The widespread rejection of GE food by consumers and by farmers has to be heeded. The scarce research and development money from taxpayers must be redirected into economic security for New Zealand people and for projects that build, rather than threaten our brand reputation.

The first place to re- engineer and modify jobs is in the AgResearch Transgenic GE sector which is a loss making enterprise. AgResearch Corporate expenditure must be cut back in the area of GE experimentation.

“GE research is like a black hole costing the country hundreds of millions of dollars and providing litle in terms of results beyond horrific animal welfare issues,” said Claire Bleakley of GE Free NZ in food and environment.

The results of ten years of GE transgenic animal experimentation has been wide spread animal suffering, deformities, illness, poor birth rates and product failure. One construct of experimental transgenic fetuses all died before term. Despite this the surrogate cows were re-impregnated with the same consturct and their fetuses were then aborted two months into pregnancy so that the cells could be harvested to make further clones from the defective cells.

It is time that money went into developing the expertise that has been proven in the areas of heritage genetics, Organics, integrated pest management (IPM) and marker assisted breeding (MAS). These will put New Zealand science back in the fore front of innovation. New Zealand farming is famous for it common sense and free range GE Free agriculture.

It is notable that when Jonny Rotten was extended an invitation to visit New Zealand by Federated Farmers it highlighted GE Free grass, free range animals as the main attractions.

“What are the government and CRI’s doing deliberately trying to destroy our farming livelihood?” asks Ms Bleakley. “There is no place for transgenic GE plants or animals in our economy, GE must be halted and taxpayers money put into Research and Development that is sustainable and humane."

We must protect New Zealand as a brand and respect the global trends in food production if we are to maximise the economic and environmental benefits to this country. Scientists and funding agencies must wake up to the fact that science is part of the real world where consumers count, instead of living in ivory towers or in the pockets of biotech investors.
ENDS:

Claire Bleakley 06-3089842 / 027 348 6731
Jon Carapiet 0210507681

References:

Owen Hembry, AgResearch cuts blamed on need to boost profit margins 4:00AM Tuesday Oct 07, 2008







back to directory