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ERMA Receives GM Animals Field Test Applications

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

7 AUGUST 2008 - The Environmental Risk Management Authority has received four related applications from AgResearch Ltd to conduct wide-ranging genetic modification research of animals in scientific containment facilities.

General Manager New Organisms Dr Libby Harrison said the applications covered the laboratory testing of cell lines and smaller species of genetically modified animals as well as the outdoor testing of larger species. The animals include cattle, goats, sheep, possums and hamsters, among others.

The application states the aim of the research is to study the production of antigens, biopharmaceuticals, enzymes, hormones and other products with possible health benefits and commercial applications.

While initial work would be done at its Ruakura facility, AgResearch seeks approval to carry out trials at other sites.

Dr Harrison says the applications are now open to submissions from members of the public. Because of the large size of the four applications, the time period for public submissions has been extended from six to 12 weeks, and will close on 31 October 2008. Submissions may be made on-line through the ERMA New Zealand website or by letter. Information on the public submission process can be found on the ERMA New Zealand website.

If requested by any submitter, a public hearing on the application would be held.

ERMA New Zealand will now begin work on preparing evaluation and review reports on the applications. These will draw on a range of scientific resources including, but not limited to, the application documentation, and serve as a source of information to the decision-making committee of the Authority.

The Authority committee will make its decision on the AgResearch applications based on the risks, costs and benefits of the applications. It will consider the potential risks to public health and safety, valued species, societies and communities, the economy, the environment and natural habitats.

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