GE Free New Zealand in Food & Environment, 15th October 2003

MPís betray National interest: unethical business wins out over ethical science.

By pushing on with their policy for GE release the Labour Government and their colleagues from Act and National have totally disregarded the scientific studies that abound on the risk GE presents and the complexity of gene patterns of all living organisms. 

Unfortunately ERMA has also been all too willing to turn a blind eye to this scientific evidence and New Zealand is now under threat from an inadequate regime likely to promote unethical commerce rather than ethical science. A study published by Nature on Bees found that "About 40% of genes change their activity between nursemaids and foragers.

This pattern is consistent enough to match bees to jobs on genes alone. The team tested samples from the brains of 60 insects from three hives". This shows that the large Syngenta, Siminis, Monsanto companies really do not understand what they are doing by swapping genes from animals to plants, and attaching viruses to genes when it is not understood why and how genes change their activity for each task. 

By disturbing the flowering patterns and inserting toxins to the plant cells the insect-plant symbiosis could cause a failure in pollination and thus food and seed for ensuing generations. It is the unknown effects such as these that explain why insurance companies will not insure New Zealand farmers for GE. 

Too little is known about the long-term effects on human health and the environment of growing GM for them to be able to offer any form of cover. Some firms even compared the risks of GM to the thalidomide scandal of the 60s. Pushing on with an agenda for environmental release against the public will and without making preservation of GE-free production a legal requirement of ERMA leaves our parliamentarians bathed in shame, and cast doubts over their loyalty to the national interest. 

"The destruction of nature through introducing GE and increased use of chemicals to control the contamination is going to be hard to explain to our children." says Claire Bleakley 

Contact Claire Bleakley (06) 3089842 

Whitfield, C. W., Cziko, A.-M. & Robinson, G. E. Gene _expression profiles in the brain predict behaviour in individual honey bees. Science, 302, 296 - 299, (2003).

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