Allergen-free milk

October 3rd, 2012 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

GE Free New Zealand is strongly opposing AgResearch’s use of genetic modification in pursuit of allergen-free milk for children. 

Crown research institute AgResearch has announced a world-first breakthrough in genetic modification research, with the goal of producing hypoallergenic (low allergy) milk.

It has bred a genetically modified cloned calf producing milk in early trials with greatly reduced amounts of a protein known as beta-lactoglobulin (BLG), believed to be the leading cause of milk allergies in children.

The 11-month-old calf, Daisy, is in containment at AgResearch’s Ruakura site in Hamilton. She has a mysterious missing tail which AgResearch expects to know the cause of in a couple of weeks but believes is not linked to genetic modification.

GE Free New Zealand president Claire Bleakley said cows without the protein BLG was a “frightening development not a breakthrough”

Yes, those awful scientists – trying to develop safe milk for kids with allergies.

Bleakley is the former Green Party candidate for Wairarapa.

“Researchers that stoop so low as to manipulate the Mauri [spirit or life force] of an animal causing suffering, then pretend that this is a significant breakthrough when we already have business using technology to remove BLG, are inhumane.”

I tune off, when people talk about the spirit of cows, as a political reason to do something.

Herald on GE

September 6th, 2012 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald editorial:

Genetic engineering of food crops appears to have largely disappeared from public concern since the Environmental Risk Management Authority was set up a decade ago.

It is hard to know whether the disappearance of the issue is because the ERMA has prevented much experimentation in this country, or because crops engineered elsewhere have been in the food chain for just as long and the world’s general health does not seem to have suffered.

Both explanations are true, according to American experts here for a biotechnology conference this week. One of them, a vice-president of Dupont Agricultural Biotechnology and an adviser to the State Department, warned that New Zealand was slipping behind advances in food production and risked being left with outdated crops. …

The regulations governing biotechnology trials in this country appear to have stifled field experiments almost entirely for the past 10 years. The Treasury has expressed concern that agricultural innovation is inhibited and the Environment Minister, Amy Adams, is taking a closer look at the rules. It is high time they were reviewed.

A decade ago, the ERMA regime made economic sense. Genetic engineering was receiving international criticism and this country listened to warnings that its reputation as a “clean green” food producer could suffer unless it adopted a restrictive regime. Now GE has faded from most of the world’s consciousness, “clean green” does not face the same risk. It is time to assess whether the country’s agricultural science is suffering. 

A review is timely.

People are often susceptible to exaggerated fears of a new technology. Cellphone towers were widely feared. Older people will remember warnings about television when it first arrived. When we travel we probably eat modified rice and wheat products without giving it a thought.

Almost every new technology is feared by some initially.

Luddites say let them starve

September 3rd, 2012 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

A major conference bringing together the world’s biggest players in genetic modification opened to the angry chants of protesters yesterday.

The week-long international agricultural biotechnology conference is being described by those on both sides of the genetic modification debate as a significant event for GM – but for opposing reasons.

Organisers hoped the Rotorua conference would foster collaboration and provide more answers on how GM could assist in feeding a world population expected to double by 2050.

Nope. Those extra people just have to starve as GM is evil.

The chief executive of event hosts NZBIO, Suzanne Bertrand, said GM was one “tool” to advance research.

“New Zealand is feeding about 19 million people out of its agriculture and it is using the latest technology … it’s been using biotechnology for the last 20 years – without it, we would be nowhere,” she said. “Some people say we shouldn’t even touch GE, but as a tool for research it’s very interesting.”

There is huge potential, and none of the scare stories are yet to come true.

Jerome Konescni, who chairs the body that organised the international conference, argued that could not be done using organic food.

“The question I would ask proponents of organics is: if we have to double the world’s food supply by 2050, how are you going to do with it technology that … reduces production rather than increases it?”

But Greens MP Steffan Browning, who hosted an afternoon seminar against GE in a meeting room a few hundred metres away, called the view “rubbish”.

“If our population goes berserk, no system is going to feed the world. But organic and traditional means are going to feed the world better until we hit that point … GE is not going to do it.”

The Green version of “Let them eat cake”.

If the luddites succeed in banning GE, it won’t be the first time their policies have killed huge numbers of people. For years they campaigned on how biofuels must replace oil and demanded big subsidies for them. So farmers all around the world dug up their food producing crops and starting growing biofuel crops instead.

The World Bank has estimated that the push for biofuels has pushed 35 million more people into absolute poverty and resulted in 192,000 additional deaths a year.

And more madness

June 9th, 2008 at 1:21 pm by David Farrar

Oh it gets even better. The first blog post from Sue Kedgley sees her blaming free trade for the third world food crisis (and contradicting herself as she complains about subsidies). Now it gets even worse – Bill Gates and GE rear their head. Read Sue’s second blog post:

It was to be expected, but still a shock, to find Bill Gates and the Rockefeller foundation at the conference (they weren’t excluded like the NGOs) launching a new bold sounding “Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa.

Good God. They let Bill Gates in. How dare they. I mean his charitable foundation only spends US$800 million a year on global health initiatives – almost more than the UN’s WHO. And with the Rockefeller Foundation have only invested US$150 million to enhance agricultural science and small-farm productivity in Africa.

The cads. We should shoot them at dawn. How dare they be allowed into a conference to discuss helping solve the food crisis.

The Rockefeller foundation are also evil doers. All they have done is develop the vaccine for yellow fever, funded social sciences and funded agricultural development to expand food supplies around the world. The heartless bastards. They have been so sucessful at health and food that the UN WHO was set up on their model, and they are actually credited with funding the Green Revolution in the 1940s to 1960s which increased agricultural production around the planet.

So maybe you know they are not totally bad people to have there.

But what were these bastards doing:

In partnership with various UN agencies, aimed at ‘lifting millions out of poverty and hunger by increasing the  productivity and profitability of small scale farms in Africa.

My goodness, the very thing Sue was complaining about in her previous post – that local farming was unsustainable.

a bold journalist asked directly whether the seeds would be genetically engineered.  They then admitted that some would be, such as a new strain of Nevica rice which ‘takes the flavour of Asia and the robustness of rice in West Africa to produce a high yielding rice.

Oh my God. How sick are those people. They want to produce a high yielding rice which is more robust. We can have no part of that. Far better people starve than we use technology.

I was not allowed to speak at the conference, or attend any bilateral meetings or negotiating sessions

And I never thought I would be saying this, but let us hear three big cheers for Jim Anderton. He may have saved NZ global embarrassment.