IN the heat of the fight against GE, Mothers Against Genetic Engineering ( Madge ) displayed seven billboards in Wellington and Auckland showing a naked woman with four breasts and GE branded on her backside.
We've been so focused on climate change that this one nearly slipped by me. You'll remember the nationwide fight to keep New Zealand GE free. Tens of thousands of us marched, not once but three times, to stop GE crops and food from entering our food-chain. And even though the Government lifted the moratorium on GE release in 2003 New Zealand has been effectively GE Free ever since.
This is now under threat from AgResearch, a Government research institute, which has applied to 'field test' GE organisms with
"a range of genetic modifications and maintain these organisms in containment for research, breeding and for the production of products with potential commercial applications".
Ge Free New Zealand March Up Queen Street, Auckland - September 01, 2001
If it gets approval AgResearch will be able to conduct broad-ranging genetic experiments on a vast range of animals including cows, goats, sheep, pigs, rats, rabbits, possums and chickens. They even want to alter milk composition and have the right to release GE milk onto the market and intend using cells taken from 'non-Maori humans' mixing genes from different species to make transgenic animals. The application is so broad it lists humans as "host organisms" to modify!
It's really important that as many people as possible oppose this monstrous application. NZ's GE Free status, food, environment, economic wellbeing and clean green image are at stake.
Please take a moment to make an online submission to help keep New Zealand GE free.
It is a little complicated so I've included the submission I made with the help of our lawyer below.
You can find out more about the application here and several other related applications here . We're most concerned with GMF07001 but GMC07012, GMD08012 and GMD07074 are also of concern so I've also mentioned them in my submission. You can read the Greenpeace submission here.
Here's my submission.
In the 'Reason for submission' box I wrote …
There is inadequate information on genetic constructs, location and disposal for ERMA to make a good decision, or for submitters to make an informed submission, and ERMA should not have notified this application until these matters were adequately specified.
Its inadequacy is seen in the apparent mistaken inclusion of humans as a host organism to be genetically modified. There is insufficient information for ERMA to undertake an adequate risk assessment. This application should be declined for this reason alone.
Genetic modification of cows, buffalo, sheep, pigs, goats, llamas, alpacas, deer, and horses will endanger New Zealand's GE -free status and non-GM exports as well as New Zealand's dairy, sheep, deer, pig, goat, llama, alpaca and equine industries. It can also threaten New Zealand's natural environment, including flora and fauna, through escape of genetically species, including pigs, goats, rabbits and possums.
The application for unlimited duration must not be accepted.
Conditions on disposal of waste matter are inadequate.
The genetic modification of rats, mice, hamsters, guinea pigs, rabbits, and possums as research models involve risk of escape and breeding.
The Appendix to application GMC07012 lists the following species as "The range of host organism to be genetically modified": these species are listed in the following table." The list of animals is:, cattle, buffalo, goat, sheep, pig, deer, llama, alpaca, horse, rat (excluding kiore), mouse, rabbit, possum, chicken, hamster, guinea pig, monkey, and human.
I oppose the genetic modification of these species by AgResearch.
AgResearch said that is " not possible at the time of application to specify all the details of each field test which may be carried on under this approval (including the effects tested, the location or duration)" since "this application is for a generic approval (i.e. approval for any field test of organisms complying with the organism description for the purposes set out in this application) of unlimited duration." The application is so broad that "whatever the boundaries, any outdoor activity will be approved under one approval or the other". The breadth of this application, together with its lack of specifics of genetic constructs and locations, and its unlimited duration, means that it must not be approved. I also want no approval of commercial release of products approved.
I want these submissions also taken into account on applications GMC07012, GMD08012 and GMD07074 and hope that they will be taking in to consideration within those hearings.
Then for the 'decision I seek' I simply said:
The application declined.