GE Free New Zealand in Food & Environment, 18th September 2003

PPL Therapeutics in financial collapse. Will the public be forced to pay for the euthanasia of several thousand sheep with human genes?

News of the complete financial collapse of PPL Therapeutics illustrates the folly of believing that genetic engineering will be advantageous to our economy. The experimentation, which was approved several years ago by the Environmental Risk Management Authority as a result of the promulgated benefits of the research, now demonstrates the false premise on which such approvals are based.

“If the public have to pay for the euthanasia of these transgenic sheep, the costs to the NZ taxpayer of this failed experiment will have been huge,” said Susie Lees of GE Free New Zealand in Food and Environment. “Not only will the taxpayer have paid for ERMA and their approvals, the costs resulting from the failed experiment but also any additional costs of effects on its export markets and any contamination of the environment.”

ERMA has been found by their independent review to be lacking in various important areas. The fact that there is no specialist in environmental effects assessment is of serious concern. Neither is there any requirement to quantify economic risks such as those to our lamb and wool markets overseas. If the research had been looked at primarily in the context of its export markets, this controversial trial may never have been have been permitted.

PPL promised medical miracles that helped to gain an approval, however, these were never realized, trials of drugs ceasing after side effects were noted. PPL’s reasons for coming to New Zealand were described in an article in the UK Sunday Times on January 9th 2000 which PPL stated that it was coming to New Zealand as the “regulations were lax and the land
cheap.” The truth was almost certainly that large scale field trials of transgenic animals would not have been tolerated in the UK after BSE.

“The history of use of New Zealand for controversial experimentation has to stop” said Susie Lees, “ It is time the government started to listen to what the public are demanding instead of supporting the US because of any promise of free trade deals.” 

Contact:- Susie Lees o3 546 7966

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