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Letter 6

[ Bioenergy ]  

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15 September 2001

The Editor

NORTH SHORE TIMES ADVERTISER

PO Box 33235

Takapuna

NORTH SHORE CITY

Dear Sir,

GE CONTAMINATION

Just a minute, A Kay of Devonport (NSTA 13 Sep), whoís pushing what on whom? Who has asked for genetic engineering to alter life forms that have existed on this planet for millennia? Most people havenít. The experimentation you favour is being foisted on us all but there are no guarantees of its safety. The introduction of exotic genes to cross species barriers can cause genetic instability of a transgenic organism. Once released into the open environment there is no absolute control on such things and they canít be recalled. Humans will have altered natural ecosystems for evermore.

Far from being successful as you suggest, it will always be experimental. There is no way that all outcomes can be predicted. The integration of artificial vectors used with the transgene is quite random and not controllable by any genetic engineer. There is no guarantee of reliability. Unpredicted hazards may ensue. Artificial vectors can spread beyond their intended sphere. The effects on human health are little known either. Already GE potatoes approved as "substantially equivalent" have been consumed by people and found to have changed the villi in their intestines. Effects are still to be determined but few have been told of consequences. In spite of such evidence, food authorities that should be able to be relied upon, are still saying that GE products have no adverse effects.

Never before has such a threat loomed over our ecology. It is only in the last 20 years - a very short period in history Ė that human experimentation has concocted this GE way of altering life for the future.

For New Zealand, with its (so-called) "clean green" image to chance dabbling with GE when it will destroy our opportunity to take advantage of rapidly growing markets for wholesome, natural organic production untainted by genetic engineering, is inconceivable. Donít be deceived by any fancy PR blurb that accompanies the promotion of GE. Their so-called benefits ignore the pitfalls and detriments. Keep GE in the laboratory where it can be controlled, is what I say.

North Shore City could well set an example by declaring itself a GE free zone. This would be symbolic of our trying to maintain food safety for everyone here, as well as the integrity of our environment.

TIM LEITCH


 

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