AgResearch challenged at Fashion Week show

Prominent anti-GE organisations banded together on Friday (19 Sept) outside AgResearch's show at Fashion Week to demonstrate that New Zealand must remain GE free and not become home to 'unfashionably' mutated genetically engineered animals.

"GE Free NZ (in food and environment), SAFE and Soil and Health Association will today hold a different kind of 'fashion show' at a public vigil to protest plans by AgResearch for genetically engineered animals to be commercialised in New Zealand, indefinitely," says group spokesperson Jon Carapiet.

"We believe Crown research institute AgResearch's applications pose the single biggest threat to farm animals, New Zealand's cultural identity, and our international image," says Mr Carapiet.

If approved, AgResearch will be able to conduct broad-ranging genetic experiments and go into commercial production at sites around New Zealand. They will use cows, goats, sheep, pigs, deer, llama, horses, rats, mice, guinea pigs, rabbits, chickens, and cell-lines from humans and monkeys.

AgResearch say GE animals provide "a practical way of producing sufficient quantity of proteins for biomedical or agricultural use". But the groups claim AgResearch are putting Brand New Zealand at serious risk.

"We need a middle path of ethical biotechnology, not the extreme science being proposed. There are alternatives that are not cruel or cause deformities," says Mr Carapiet. "We need to have ethical uses of science that fit New Zealand's cultural values and positioning as clean, green and natural."

The groups are urging New Zealanders to make submissions before 31 October to oppose the four AgResearch applications currently before ERMA.