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CLONING & ANIMALS: New Zealandís controversial livestock cloning facility closes due to unacceptable death rates



                                  PART 1


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TITLE:   RUAKURA PULLS PIN ON CLONING FACILITY

SOURCE:  Waikato Times, New Zealand

AUTHOR:  Chirs Gardner & Kiran Chug

URL:     http://www.stuff.co.nz/waikato-times/farming/4683770/Ruakura-pulls-pin-on-cloning-facility

DATE:    21.02.2011

SUMMARY: "The axe has fallen on AgResearch?s controversial livestock cloning facility at Ruakura amid reports only 10 per cent of animals involved survived. But applied biotechnologies general manager Jimmy Suttie said this morning the Hamilton facility ? capable of containing up to 200 animals ? had closed in September because stem cell research showed more promise. Reports released by the Crown research institute under the Official Information Act show unacceptable death rates of laboratory animals forced AgResearch to end its cloning trials."

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RUAKURA PULLS PIN ON CLONING FACILITY

The axe has fallen on AgResearch?s controversial livestock cloning facility at Ruakura amid reports only 10 per cent of animals involved survived.

But applied biotechnologies general manager Jimmy Suttie said this morning the Hamilton facility ? capable of containing up to 200 animals ? had closed in September because stem cell research showed more promise.

Reports released by the Crown research institute under the Official Information Act show unacceptable death rates of laboratory animals forced AgResearch to end its cloning trials.

The reports detail chronic arthritis, pneumonia, lameness and blood poisoning among the causes of cattle, sheep and goat deaths and refer to trials including those carried out on genetically engineered animals being developed to produce a kind of super milk, as well as those being cloned.

Other trials where deaths occurred included those looking for resistance to eczema in sheep, exploring feeding motivation in pregnant sheep, and collecting tissue from genetically modified embryos.

Dr Suttie said that after 13 years of studying how to prevent abnormalities forming in cloned animals AgResearch had ended its cloning research.

?The decision was made, enough is enough.?

Only about 10 per cent of cloned animals survived through the trials, with the major problems being spontaneous abortions and hydrops ? where a cow?s uterus filled up with water, leading to the mother being euthanised as well.

Animal Ethics Committee reports from Ruakura show 16 foetuses or calves from mid gestation onwards either spontaneously aborted or died in the neo natal period last year.

Another 10 foetuses or calves were euthanised, as were 14 cows during last year?s cloning trials.

Ruakura-based Vish Vishwanath, head of reproductive technologies, said the lab was closed due to a shift in focus driven by the Foundation of Research, Science and Technology (FORST).

The scientists who had worked on cloning were now working on stem cell reserarch.

Animal rights group Safe campaign director Hans Kriek said he did not believe New Zealand had seen the end of cloning. ?While the cloning has been halted for now, it just takes another company to ask for more research.?



                                  PART 2

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TITLE:   INQUIRY INTO AGRESEARCH GE EXPERIMENTS NEEDED

SOURCE:  Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand, New Zealand

AUTHOR:  Press Release

URL:     http://www.greens.org.nz/press-releases/inquiry-agresearch-ge-experiments-needed

DATE:    21.02.2011

SUMMARY: "?A full Parliamentary inquiry is needed into the ethics and animal welfare issues surrounding the failed GE trials at AgResearch?s Ruakura facility,? Green Party Animal Welfare spokesperson Sue Kedgley said. There has been a veil of secrecy surrounding AgResearch?s GE animal experiments which it conducts using taxpayers? money. It?s time to lift the lid on that research and consider the animal welfare and ethical implications of creating GE animals."

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INQUIRY INTO AGRESEARCH GE EXPERIMENTS NEEDED

It is time for AgResearch to admit the failure of its genetic engineering experiments on animals and halt these experiments altogether, the Green Party said today.

?A full Parliamentary inquiry is needed into the ethics and animal welfare issues surrounding the failed GE trials at AgResearch?s Ruakura facility,? Green Party Animal Welfare spokesperson Sue Kedgley said.

There has been a veil of secrecy surrounding AgResearch?s GE animal experiments which it conducts using taxpayers? money. It?s time to lift the lid on that research and consider the animal welfare and ethical implications of creating GE animals.

AgResearch has today revealed unacceptably high death rates among its genetically engineered laboratory animals. It also revealed that deformities including lameness, chronic arthritis and a high rate of foetal deaths, has forced it to abandon its experiments to create GE animals by cloning techniques.

?Yet AgResearch still intends to push on with its GE animal experiments, using unproven, experimental techniques,? Ms Kedgley said.

?An inquiry needs to investigate the extent of the failure of the first round of its Genetic Engineering trials on animals, and why it is that, despite these massive failures, AgResearch intends to push on with further trials.

Ms Kedgley said the gains made by these experiments appear to have been nil, while the cost to animal welfare has been enormous suffering and needless deaths.

?There has been a veil of secrecy surrounding AgResearch?s GE animal experiments which it conducts using taxpayers? money. It?s time to lift the lid on that research and consider the animal welfare and ethical implications of creating GE animals,? Ms Kedgley said.

?We know that AgResearch has created at least 267 genetically engineered cattle, and over 8000 genetically engineered mice. Only 10 percent of these animals survived through the trials.

?These experiments are being conducted with taxpayers? money ? surely we have a right to know what is going on and debate the implications of these experiments?

?It should be Parliament, not AgResearch, that examines the ethical and animal welfare implications of these experiments and decides whether to continue experimenting on animals, and creating genetically engineered animals,? Ms Kedgley said.

Currently AgResearch has over 100 living genetically engineered cattle.