13 May 2010

Legal battle over GM animal research

10:04 am on 13 May 2010

AgResearch and the Environmental Risk Management Authority are in for another legal battle over genetically modified animal research.

Their persistent opponent, GE Free New Zealand, has filed papers in the High Court challenging ERMA's recent decision to allow research to continue on genetically modified cows, sheep and goats.

AgResearch has been investigating the production of therapeutic proteins in milk, mainly from cattle, for the past 10 years.

ERMA's decision allows it to continue that work at its Ruakura campus outside Hamilton for another 20 years, with a review at the half-way stage.

GE Free New Zealand says ERMA gave that approval only a few weeks before it released a preliminary report rejecting another four AgResearch proposals for similar GM animal experiments.

ERMA says there wasn't enough information to allow it to properly assess the risks.

It was proposing to hear those applications at the beginning of next month. That's been postponed after AgResearch asked for more time.

GE free is also challenging those wider-ranging research proposals in a case it's now seeking to take to the Supreme Court.