1 Mar 2010

Public hearing on GM animals to begin in Hamilton

12:36 pm on 1 March 2010

A two-day public hearing will begin in Hamilton on Monday on an application by AgResearch to continue work on developing genetically modified cattle, and extend it to goats and sheep.

AgResearch already has approval from the Environmental Risk Management Authority to genetically modify cattle so they can produce human proteins that could ultimately be used to make pharmaceuticals.

But the approval is due to expire later this year, so the Crown research institute has had to reapply for permission to continue the work.

Applied biotechnologies general manager Jimmy Suttie says AgResearch also wants to be able to carry out the research on sheep and goats.

AgResearch had applied for approval for wider-ranging research into GM animals, which was legally challenged and is currently under appeal.

However, GE Free NZ says the application does not provide enough information to the public and should not be allowed to proceed.

President Claire Bleakley says it's impossible for anyone to carry out a risk assessment.