28/04/2010

Amended Version GE Animals Case To Go To The Supreme Court

 

GE Free NZ would like to make a clarification over an earlier version of this press release which should have read - GE Free NZ has had reciept of their application to appeal acknowledged. The Supreme Court has asked the GE Free NZ lawyers to present their submisions so that the Supreme Court can decide whether they will hear it,
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The Supreme Court is to consider whether there are grounds to be heard in the case brought by GE-Free NZ concerning four applications by AgResearch seeking indefinite and wideranging use of GE animals in New Zealand.

GE-Free NZ has had acknowledgement of their application to be heard in the Supreme Court. They have to present their submissions by 19th of May.

“We are hoping that the Supreme Court will accept our case. There is enormous concern amongst the public about the planned introduction of GE animals, and this case will decide how New Zealand proceeds in relation to legal restraint of potentially extreme science,” said Claire Bleakley president of GE-Free NZ in food and environment.
“It will also clarify how the public can participate constructively in a process that affects them very personally, having huge implications for the environment and New Zealand's exports”.

ERMA (The Environmental Risk Management Authority) accepted four applications from AgResearch to develop, import and go into commercial production of products from GE animals across 18 species, including pigs, sheep, cows, alpacas, buffalo, deer, goats, horses and donkeys. The generic applications sought approval at any location and for an indefinite period to allow commercial production of biopharmaceuticals, nutraceuticals and to produce diseased animals for research.

GE Free NZ took this case to High Court The High Court decision set aside the applications as being unreasonably broad, it was consequently overturned on appeal.

“GE-Free NZ previously took action in The High Court because of the alarming implications of these generic applications to commercialise GE animals as bio-factories anywhere, anytime, and in any place AgResearch chose. They are so lacking in vital information that it is impossible for submitters to know if and how their bio-security, economic wellbeing or community will be affected now or in the future,” said Mrs Bleakley.

“The approach of case-by-case risk assessment which government promised New Zealanders as the cornerstone of legislation has been completely abandoned in these applications. What AgResearch and its overseas partners are seeking is so broad that it could allow the transformation of New Zealand agriculture by stealth, with no way to gauge or manage the risks,” said Jon Carapiet, spokesperson for GE-Free NZ in food and environment.

GE-Free NZ believed that the information required by law was so deficient that no member of the public, independent scientific experts or ERMA could properly assess the risks to the community, animal welfare, bio-security or New Zealand’s tourism and export-reliant economy.

ENDS:
Claire Bleakley - 027 348 6731/ 06-3089842
Jon Carapiet - 021 0507681

References:
http://www.issues.co.nz/GEFreeNZ/Background+Info

http://www.gefree.org.nz/news.htm

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