19 Mar 2010

Research into genetically modified cattle to continue

10:01 am on 19 March 2010

The Environmental Risk Management Authority (ERMA) has given temporary approval to AgResearch to allow it to continue research into genetically modified cattle, to the dismay of anti-GE lobbyists.

Under current approvals, AgResearch is allowed to genetically modify the cows so they express human proteins in their milk.

The ultimate aim is to use the proteins to make pharmaceuticals which could be used to cure diseases in humans.

The approval for this research is being reviewed by ERMA, but to avoid having the cattle culled, the authority has decided to make some amendments to allow the animals to remain in containment for another two and a half years.

GE Free NZ president Claire Bleakley thinks the authority was wrong in approving the amendment, saying that after 10 years there is still no data on the risks that these experiments pose to the environment and the surrounding communities.

She says the public needs to be provided with scientific data to validate the importance of this research being carried out, otherwise it should be shut down.