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News Article

NZ ‘Milked Woman’ Billboard Campaign

Campaigners opposed to the use of human genes in transgenic cattle experiments have launched a controversial billboard campaign featuring a four-breasted woman being milked

The NZ campaigning group, Mothers Against Genetic Engineering in Food and the Environment (MAdGE) has launched a controversial billboard campaign to provoke debate about the social and cultural ethics of genetic engineering in New Zealand.

The billboards depict a naked, genetically engineered woman with four breasts being milked by a milking machine, and GE branded on her rump.

Alannah Currie, MAdGE founder and billboard designer, commented, "New Zealanders are allowing a handful of corporate scientists and ill-informed politicians to make decisions on the ethics of GE. Our largest science company, AgResearch, is currently putting human genes into cows in the hope of creating new designer milks. The ethics of such experiments have not even been discussed by the wider public. How far will we allow them to go? Where is the line in the sand? Why is the government lifting the moratorium on GE when we have not even had a public debate on ethics?" Ms Currie is also concerned that Fonterra, New Zealand’s largest milk company, has recently purchased the patent rights to human DNA from an Australian genetics company. She added, "The mothers of New Zealand would like to know exactly what our milk company are doing with this human DNA. We at MAdGE want an assurance from Fonterra that they will continue to keep our milk GE Free now and in the future and not use human genes in cows to boost milk production."

In a press interview, Currie is cited as saying of the billboard image, "It's not a sexual photo. It's shocking but it's not sexual. It has to be quite controversial and provocative in order to get this debate about ethics going." The image will be posted on five billboards in Auckland and two in Wellington to coincide with a march against genetic modification on October 11 and the scheduled end of the ban on releasing GM organisms on October 29. The cost of the billboards has been met by private donations. MAdGE was recently ordered by a NZ court to pay $24,000 to AgResearch for its court costs in defending a MAdGE appeal against its GM plans.

Contact: Mothers Against Genetic Engineering (in Food and the Environment), Room 7, 1 Cross Street, Newton Auckland New Zealand.
Tel: +64 (9) 309 38 38

Article details

  • Date
  • 01 October 2003
  • Subject(s)
  • Awaiting Classification (3)