The Sustainability Council has a propaganda piece in the SST today about much-maligned Daisy the cloned cow. The Council, which is described by the SST as a "research and advocacy group" but could more accurately be described as an "environmentalist lobby group," has some complaints about Agresearch carrying out the kind of research that results in cloned animals. As far as I can tell from the propaganda in the SST (there's nothing about it on the SCNZ web site), SCNZ's problem with this research is that public money has been spent on it, but so far there are no commercial applications for it.
Seriously: What? The? Fuck?
I'm aware that NZ is a very anti-intellectual country and has no shortage of thickos who think scientific research can only be justified by commercial applications that result directly from it, but you'd think people peddling themselves as a science "research and advocacy group" could come up with something a little better than that.
The real problem, which for obvious reasons the Sustainability Council doesn't state publicly, is that middle class hippies find genetic modification unnatural and just plain icky, and therefore consider Agresearch's cloning programme a gross affront to Mother Nature. Their objection is essentially a religious one, so they have to find rational-sounding objections if they want to avoid being subjected to ridicule. Unfortunately, rational objections like "yet to deliver a single commercial product" are crap when it comes to pure science research.
Naturally, the piece wouldn't be complete without something from the hippies' parliamentary representatives, in this case Steffan Browning, who says:
"Trying to use low-allergen milk to win the public over is quite mischievous. It is typical. I went to their [bio-tech industry] conference in Rotorua and they were doing workshops around how you get trust into communities that are resistant to genetic engineering. I found that quite disturbing."
Well, yes - no doubt it is disturbing that after all the time and trouble Green Party members have taken to spread scaremongering propaganda about "unnatural" genetic engineering, the scientists working in the field go and start thinking up ways of countering the propaganda. It's so unfair!