By Steffan Browning
Soil & Health Association of New Zealand
AgResearch’s genetically engineered (GE) goat experiments have a new bizarre twist with surviving GE pregnancies producing mostly [hermaphrodite*] offspring, that AgResearch staff term ‘goys,’ according to the Soil & Health Association of NZ.
An AgResearch farm manager recently revealed to Soil & Health and GE Free NZ, during a tour of its Ruakura GE animal field trial site, that most of the GE goats produced were [hermaphrodite]. It appeared that about 75% were “goys” with the remainder female.
“The “goys”, females in sterile male bodies, are to be induced into milking to ascertain whether the intended genetically engineered (GE) human protein will be expressed in the milk,” said Soil & Health – Organic NZ spokesperson Steffan Browning.
Previous GE cattle pregnancies have only 5% success, with the goats reported to have a success rate of possibly 15%, although one flock of about 18 recipient does failed to hold one GE embryo of a particular experiment. AgResearch has a track record of resultant GE offspring prone to a variety of disabilities including arthritis, respiratory distress, deformities and ruptured ovaries.(1)
“The 15 “goys” we saw had four true sisters, with one induced to milking at six months following AgResearch’s in-house ethics committee approval.”(2)
“Although grateful to AgResearch for hosting GE Free NZ President Claire Bleakley and myself for a tour of the AgResearch Ruakura GE animal facility, we were concerned at the continued animal welfare issues and the level of contaminated surface water that was draining off the experimental property.”
“Considering that a recent report showed AgResearch scientists intentionally corrupting monitoring research of risky microbial horizontal gene transfer (HGT), these unnatural reproductive outcomes and continued animal welfare issues, should spell the end of the Ruakura GE experiments,” said Mr Browning.(3)
“Good animal welfare records and a GE free reputation are very important for New Zealand’s trading image and increasingly demanded by consumers. Cruel experiments for a GE farming future are not what either New Zealanders or valuable overseas consumers want.”(4)
“AgResearch is at the cruel operator end of a business partnership with a dirty drug manufacturer, Genzyme, who has been investigated and fined by the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) for poor manufacturing practices.” (5)
“Knowing that it would be a nuisance for AgResearch and its overseas partners, the government disbanded the New Zealand Bioethics Council two years ago in full knowledge that distressing animal welfare issues are clearly predictable in GE research. The Bioethics Council had been calling for ethics reviews of all GE animal experiments.” (6)
“The AgResearch Ruakura facility currently is the only active GE field trial operating in the country, although Scion intends planting some GE pine trees at its GE field trial site in Rotorua this winter.”
Closing both field trials could return Aotearoa New Zealand’s environment to a full GE free status.
Soil & Health wants AgResearch’s cruel and unnatural animal experiments stopped immediately, the reinstatement of the New Zealand Bioethics Council, and for the government to move quickly towards desirable high value sustainable, animal friendly, GE free, and organic production.
(1) http://www.ermanz.govt.nz/no/compliance/agresearch.html ERMA Annual reports on GMF98009 and GMD 02028
(2) Photographs attached and available at a higher resolution.
(6) http://www.mfe.govt.nz/website/closed-sites/images/bioethics.jpgNew Zealand Bioethics Council, August 2004 Report: The Cultural, Ethical and Spiritual Dimensions of the Use of Human Genes in Other Organisms.
Ed. Note: The press release uses the term “transgender” which is a misnomer. Transgender means to change gender, whereas hermaphrodites are born (usually sterile) with sex organs of both genders, or with the physical appearance of one gender and the DNA of the other. (See, e.g. Wikipedia on Hermaphrodite and on Intersex, which applies to humans.) Relating to humans, see this Intersex Society of North America FAQ page.