61% of New Zealand's farmers reject GE animals‏

SOURCE: Soil & Health Association of New Zealand & SAFE, both New Zealand
AUTHOR: Press Release
URL: http://safe.org.nz/images.php?oid=5453
DATE: 12.10.2008

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 the Soil & Health Association of New Zealand and the national animal advocacy organisation SAFE, 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.'

The two organisations that commissioned the poll, along with GE Free NZ and the Green Party, mounted nationwide campaigns last month to vehemently oppose four applications submitted by AgResearch to conduct broad-ranging genetic research and the commercialisation of GE animals.

The groups warn the applications threaten New Zealand's clean green image and could result in potentially catastrophic environmental disasters in addition to animal suffering.

".Twice as many New Zealanders oppose GE than support it" says Soil & Health spokesperson Steffan Browning. ".These AgResearch applications effectively threaten our entire nation by proposing commercial production, and go much further than just small-scale, contained research".

SAFE campaign director Hans Kriek said today: ".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.

For further details of the survey or for more information please contact:

Steffan Browning, Soil & Health Association of NZ spokesperson: 021 725 655

Hans Kriek, SAFE Campaign Director: 027 446 2711