19/07/2009

NZ Agriculture Threatened by GE Animal Fodder Crops

 

The threat to New Zealand from the introduction of genetically engineered (GE) fodder crops is both economic and environmental, and demands the government intervenes to prevent it. Directly or indirectly our whole economy benefits from the protection of Brand New Zealand.

“It would be insane to permit the introduction of GE fodder crops to our agricultural system. Farmers and consumers at home and overseas are seeking a safe sustainable food supply and a guarantee they can buy GE Free produce.” said Claire Bleakley President of GE Free NZ in food and environment.

But without legislation to prohibit GE fodder crops, the government is leaving New Zealand at risk from lost exports, damage to our tourism image and damage to our agricultural industries from GE contamination and novel disease (1).

GM fodder crops can have no place in a country with an economy reliant on quality perceptions of our food system. A field trial of GE brassica was recently shut down after Crop / Plant and Food allowed plants to flower, but the GE fodder kale had also developed an unidentified stem rot disease [1].

Beyond the Biosecurity threat, New Zealand's agricultural sector must not be undermined by the increased toxicity of GM fodder crops (2, 3, 4) that absorb higher quantities of Round-Up; or by animal sickness from GE feed containing insecticidal proteins; or by the extreme deformities and animal cruelty associated with GE technology and cloning.

“New Zealand research data on GM-animal survival rates indicates a more serious animal welfare issue far greater than chicken and pig husbandry which recently hit the headlines” said Ms Bleakley “Looking at traditional, transgenic and cloned animals, GE fodder crops pose the ability to create further serious problems in all types of animals and must not be grown”.

The Prime Minster and Government must take up the protection of the New Zealand Brand as their highest priority, and urgently develop a Biotechnology strategy (5) that addresses the billion-dollar conflict between our national identity and GE biotechnology that benefits consumers, farmers and our economy.

ENDS:

Claire Bleakley 06 -3089842 /027 348 6731

Jon Carapiet 0210507681

www.gefree.org.nz or www.issues.co.nz/gefreenz

References:

[1] Photo provided by Plant and Food under OIA.

A field trial of GE brassica was recently shut down because of blatent disregard for the regulatory safety parameters by Crop / Plant and Food. Not only were GE brassica cauliflower, broccoli and kale plants allowed to flower, but the GE fodder kale developed a stem rot disease not identified. GE stem and leaf detritus was left to litter the site, and was then ploughed into the ground by MAF, adding to the risk of disease spreading.

[2] The proprietary chemical, Ready Roundup and glyphosate have been found to be highly toxic causing sub chronic and chronic health effects especially to the reproductive system in both animals and humans (3). Resistance to the herbicide is producing a highly invasive weed problem, as the GE plants have been bred to withstand up to 200 times more glyphosate spray.

[3] a. Benachour N., Seralini G-E., Glyphosate Formulations Induce Apoptosis and Necrosis in Human Umbilical, Embryonic, and Placental Cells Chem. Res. Toxicol., 2009, 22 (1), pp 97–105

b. Séralini GE, de Vendômois JS, Cellier D, Sultan C, Buiatti M, Gallagher L, Antoniou M, Dronamraju KR. How Subchronic and Chronic Health Effects can be Neglected for GMOs, Pesticides or Chemicals. Int J Biol Sci 2009; 5:438-443. Available from http://www.biolsci.org/v05p0438.htm


[4] a. Resistance from the pink bollworm to the insecticidal gene from Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) engineered into crops has been found in the US.

Tabashnik B., Unnithan G., Masson L., Crowder D, Xianchun Li X., and Carrie Y, (2009)
Asymmetrical cross-resistance between Bacillus thuringiensis toxins Cry1Ac and Cry2Ab in pink bollworm, www.pnas.org_cgi_doi_10.1073_pnas.0901351106

b. Stock deaths have been attributed to the grazing of Bt cotton fields in India.
Mortality in Sheep Flocks after grazing on Bt Cotton fields – Warangal District, Andhra Pradesh 2008, Report of the Preliminary Assessment.

c. GE peas caused severe immune problems in mice in feeding trials.
Prescott V., Campbell P., Moore P., Mattes J., Rothenberg M., Foster P., Higgins T., and Hogan S. Transgenic Expression of Bean -Amylase Inhibitor in Peas Results in Altered Structure and Immunogenicity, Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 2005, vol 53 (23), pp9023-9030.

d. In South Africa 82,000 ha of GE maize has failed to pollinate causing severe threat of famine. Monsanto GM-corn harvest fails massively in South Africa, March 29th 2009, Adriana Stuijt http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/270101

e. Only one human ingestion study has ever been conducted, and it was found that GE survived in intact in the digestive system. No follow up studies have yet been completed. What is GE doing to our organs and digestive system?

Netherwood T., Martin-Orue S., O’Donnell A., Gockling S., Graham J., Mathers J. & Gilbert H., 2002, In animal feeding studies Bt caused stunting, organ, digestive and immune system damage. Nature Biotechnology, vol 22; 2, pp 204 -209

[5] Scarce science R&D money must go into an ethical and sustainable Biotechnology Strategy that does not include GE in our food, farm animals or environment. This is key to the global positioning for the New Zealand Brand, which is the lifeblood of the economy. GE animals have poor fertility, <7% live births, immune reactions, deformities and congenital defects.

ERMA Annual Reports on GMD 02028 and GMF98009 - 2000-2008

back to directory