Applications submitted to ERMA (New Zealand’s Environmental Risk Management Authority) from AgResearch, New Zealand’s largest Crown Research Institute, have been declared invalid by the High Court following an appeal from GE Free NZ.
Four applications from Agresearch were seeking approval to carry out genetic modification on food animals, as part of their ‘Transgenic Livestock Programme’, research the AgResearch believes will make a significant contribution to generating sustainable wealth within the biotechnology and pastoral sectors in New Zealand. GE Free NZ, however, are relieved at the High Court verdict from Justice Clifford, which will prevent the research from taking place.
President of GE Free NZ in Food and Environment, Claire Bleakley, said,
“It is fantastic news that our concerns about the broad and indefinite nature of these applications have been upheld. The cruelty and unregulated exploitation of animals for unsound GM research is not acceptable to New Zealanders.”
The anti-GM group expressed concerns about the potential effects of genetic modification being approved across New Zealand. Despite claims from AgResearch that they believed this research would be of benefit to New Zealand’s economy, GE Free NZ are not convinced. They advised that rushing to develop commercialised technologies such as those proposed in AgResearch’s applications could have a potentially devastating effect on New Zealand’s image for both tourism, and as a brand. Spokesperson for GE Free NZ in Food and Environment, Jon Carapiet, commented,
“There is an urgent need for Government to direct Crown Research Institutes, like AgResearch, to comply with a Biotechnology Strategy that does not include genetic modification, but one that builds on our existing reputation and supports clean, natural and sustainable production.”