The High Court has reserved its decision concerning the expansion of GE animals into New Zealand under the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act (HSNO). AgResearch has been given an all-encompassing approval to undertake genetic engineering in cows, sheep and goats.
GE free NZ challenged the ERMA decision that allowed economically-significant animals to be genetically manipulated at random without risk-assessment of any individual animal or the potential to create a new or more virulent viral or bacterial organism that could escape into the larger environment.
The case goes to the heart of New Zealand's legislation intended to protect New Zealand from the extremes and unknown effects of genetic engineering. The Royal Commission on GM recommended New Zealand be cautious and socially responsible in regulating Genetic Engineering.
In light of the advances in medicinal drugs that can be produced in safer ways, AgResearch's experiments could be an unacceptable risk to New Zealand's reputation and environment. Without a systematic documentation of the value of Clean Green 100% Pure branding and sustainable and ethical production, authorities cannot assess the risk or damage from GE animals.
"When there are less expensive alternative production methods for medicines that are kinder to the animals, we should not allow animals to suffer severe adverse effects from the modifications," says Jon Carapiet from GE Free NZ in food and environment.
The High Court listened to questions raised by ERMA's approval about where the line can be drawn, not scientifically or ethically, but legally. GE Free NZ contend information about what is being done to animals and why, are basic requirements for the level of environmental and ethical risk assessment that New Zealand law requires.
The decision has been reserved until the New Year.
Jon Carapiet 0210507681
Claire Bleakley 0273486731