Most New Zealanders are strongly opposed to the genetic engineering of animals in New Zealand, with farmers as ardently opposed as the rest of the community, a new survey shows.

A Colmar Brunton Omnijet survey of over 1000 people, commissioned by SAFE and the Soil & Health Association of New Zealand, found that only 27 per cent of New Zealanders, and just 28 per cent of farmers, support genetic engineering (GE) of animals. However, six out of ten farmers (61%) who stated an opinion in the survey said they do not support GE of animals, and almost a third of all farmers surveyed (28%) stated they 'don't know.'

SAFE campaign director Hans Kriek said: "The majority of New Zealanders are opposed to GE animals (55%) and almost one in five (18%) want more information about what is being planned, the risks involved, the effect on the animals and who will really benefit. New Zealanders have an inherent distain for the genetic engineering of animals. When you consider the foetal abnormalities, deformities and congenital health defects of cloned GE animals, kiwis have very valid reasons to oppose GE."

The survey shows two thirds (67%) of people who expressed an opinion are opposed. Opposition is equally strong across different ethnicities: among those with Maori descent who expressed an opinion nine out of ten (86%) are opposed.