Animal health at stake if HT swede sales continue

The Green Party is calling for herbicide tolerant (HT) swedes to be removed from sale after a Dairy NZ report today confirmed high levels of toxins in the swedes have led to cows dying.

“Dairy NZ are telling farmers to stop feeding HT swedes to cows in spring when the animals are in late pregnancy or early lactation, but we want to see the use of HT swedes stop altogether,” said Green Party GE spokesperson Steffan Browning.

“HT swedes have been developed using a technology very similar to genetic engineering so that they can be sprayed with chlorsulfuron, a herbicide that has been banned in China. They are bad news all round.

“Government has fobbed off any responsibility, by leaving the testing of plant samples to an industry body when it should have managed intensive testing on animal and plant samples itself.

“The report has found that glucosinolates (GSLs), compounds found in brassicas, are elevated in the HT swedes to toxic levels. But we want to see testing done on animal tissue, not just the plants.

“Chemical mutagenesis, the technology used to develop these swedes, is unregulated and has led to cow deaths.

“Farmers deserve recompense from the Government, who allowed this to happen, and from the swede producer PGG Wrightson.

“We want the Government to investigate what effect the chlorsulfuron is having on the cows; eating plants that have been sprayed with it will have implications for not only the cow’s health, but also the health of consumers drinking the milk these animals produce,” said Mr Browning.

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