If this coalition government is serious about tackling climate change and ensuring future generations are left with a prosperous planet, GMO law reform must be considered. …
In Lincoln, scientists from AgResearch are engineering a strain of ryegrass which, when fed to cows, has the potential to reduce methane emissions by 23 per cent. The ryegrass contains a High Metabolise Energy (HME) system, which promotes the production of lipids in the leaf. Higher levels of lipids, provided they don’t biohydrogenate, result in less material for the rumen to release as methane and more sustenance for the animal so they do not have to ingest as much grass as they regularly would. This ryegrass could not only reduce methane emissions, but could also cost farmers less money due to its high feed conversion efficiency.
This HME ryegrass has the potential to make a substantial difference to New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions – 48 per cent of which can be traced back to the agricultural sector. Additionally, modelling has also shown a reduction in nitrate leaching. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions requires a new way of thinking, and if we’re serious about assisting farmers in their emission reduction we need to be considering less regulation of genetic engineering.
Mia is absolutely right. It is profoundly wrong to demand farmers reduce their emissions but refuse to allow them the tools to do so.
New Zealand’s strict GMO laws has meant that AgResearch have had to move its research to the United States in order to complete testing. How embarrassing is that? Progressive, NZ-born science is having to move away from home in order to develop. These current regulations can only be described as anti-science.
Our prime minister has claimed that she wants to “demonstrate how [food producing] can be done sustainably” to the rest of the world. If this is a serious claim, we need to see action in the form of allowing crops with forward-thinking genetic engineering, such as AgResearch’s ryegrass, to be welcome in New Zealand.
Will New Zealand retain its anti-science laws, or will it allow our scientists to help us reduce our greenhouse gas emissions?