Tuesday, 30 May 2000
Dáil Eireann Debate
286. Mr. Gormley asked the Minister for the Environment and Local Government if his attention has been drawn to the fact that the report of the chairing panel of the National Consultation Debate on Genetically Modified Organisms and the Environment recommended that there should be no unnecessary or unwarranted suffering for any animal and that national policy should include a commitment to the avoidance of ill-treatment of and suffering by genetically modified animals; the reason these recommendations were dropped from the subsequent Government policy statement, issued by his Department; if he will amended the policy statement to include animal welfare protection; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15404/00]
Minister for the Environment and Local Government (Mr. Dempsey): The policy statement, which I issued in October 1999 in relation to genetically modified organisms and the environment, following the public consultation I initiated and the work of the chairing panel, states that, “the Government has accepted the conclusions of the chairing panel and will act on its recommendations”. This includes the conclusion and recommendation of the panel in relation to animal welfare.
The primary focus of the consultation process and policy review was environmental protection in relation to releases of genetically modified products to the environment, particularly genetically modified crop plants. While I am satisfied that the policy statement recognises animal welfare issues and does not require amendment along the lines suggested by the Deputy, I will review the situation in the context of policy developments, within my remit, on modern biotechnology and of any consequent policy update which may be appropriate for environmental protection purposes.
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