The High Court decision upholding ERMA's approval of GE experiments creates a veil of secrecy over what GE animals are created in New Zealand and increases the risk of abuse and unnecessary cruelty. The decision by J. Gendall has defined the requirements of the HSNO Act in a way that sets a precedent for future applicants having to identify what or how they intend modifying an animal*.
It also sends a message to the Pharming Corporations of the World that GE organisms are no longer going to be strictly regulated; anyone can apply to ERMA to have their undefined GE wish list approved without any worry of regulatory encumbrances on the approvals.
"Our International reputation as an ethical** leading agricultural innovator will be sacrificed for the cruelty and suffering we are subjecting our animals to when renting our land to American and European partner Corporations� said Claire Bleakley President of GE Free NZ " New Zealand has nothing to gain from the GE rental agreement and also carry all the risks".
GE Free NZ would like to ask why legislation was created in so much detail when all that was needed to be said was, "everyone can apply to genetically engineer anything as long as they advise ERMA that they are going to do it?" It would cost less to the taxpayer and allow unfettered de regulation that would ensure any free trade deals with the US.
"New Zealanders want authorities to avoid any biosecurity risk and prevent deformed and diseased animals. This decision opens the back door for extreme uses of sentient animals in the unnecessary pursuit of neutraceuticals, milk, or cloned meat." says Claire Bleakley from GE Free NZ.
"The decision allows the industry to effectively dictate legislation, setting aside the very strict protections Parliament put in place for a multi-stage programme to test for adverse effects before leaving containment. Examples of when industry has regulated itself include the BP oil spill, DDT, Thalidomide, and Bhopal disasters."
Instead of a legal framework that balances risk, science and community values the High Court decision means moderation is abandoned and unacceptable GE experiments will continue to divert essential resources from ethical research that would genuinely benefit New Zealand.
CIV-2010-485-823 GE Free NZ In Food v ERMA & Anor, E Gannaway
*GE Free NZ had sought to have the HSNO Act regulations clarified as to the information required for the public and science experts to assess the risks to the animals, humans and the environment of genetically engineering cows, sheep and goats engineered with unknown organisms. Previous experiments by AgResearch have shown significant animal suffering and death from congenital malformations and hormonal abnormalities leading to ovarian rupture and arterial hemorrhage.
Without the ability to scrutinise AgResearch's experiments it likely New Zealand will be the site of more unacceptable experiments that put at risk our animal welfare and environmental biosecurity.
** The Bio Ethics Council has been abolished, and without the law requiring the identity of an organism it also inactivates the working of the legislation.
Claire Bleakley 06 3089842 / 027348673
Jon Carapiet 0210507681