Okay, perhaps the headline is a tad sensationalist but after yesterday’s announcement that the Environmental Risk Management Authority (ERMA) has approved genetically modified goats, sheep and cows at AgResearch’s Ruakura research facility I wouldn’t be surprised if human cloning was on the cards soon.

I’m also not surprised that this consent was given considering ERMA’s rubber stamp approval of past applications. In the nearly 15 years since ERMA was formed it has yet to decline a single GE application. Talk about a lap dog for GE interests.

And yes, I can hear people say ‘but this application is different’ and ‘it will save people’s lives’.

I say ‘bollocks’. Yes, I know they say these GE applications will not be used for commercial interests in terms of developing milk. But, my sense is, that is exactly where this will lead. Along with the recent pro-GE grass articles these applications are for the commercial interests of big agri-business.

You may think, how cynical, but this is a subject close to my heart. Two of my siblings have muscular dystrophy. Several years ago there was a proposal to genetically engineer sheep to increase muscle mass up to four times. It was argued this process could be used to help people with muscular dystrophy. My siblings and I talked about this and we agreed that it seemed to be more about dollars in terms of ‘more muscle on sheep more dollars made in selling the meat’ than a genuine proposal to end muscular dystrophy. And where did that experiment end up? Nowhere and no cure in sight.

Greenpeace is not against GE for medical reasons. We believe that it should be kept in the lab and not out in our paddocks.

Plus, the Royal Commission (held in 2001 to determine whether GE should be allowed in NZ) recommended to use synthetic rather than human genes, and not use animals that could find their way into the food chain. Due to this and many other environmental and economic reasons this application should have been declined.