Four-Breasted Woman Ad Called 'Bad-Taste Science Fiction'

By Patrick Goodenough | July 7, 2008 | 8:14 PM EDT

Pacific Rim Bureau ( - Critics have slammed anti-GM campaigners in New Zealand for a controversial billboard advertisement depicting a naked woman with four breasts, being milked like a cow.

Activists opposed to genetic modification (GM, also known as genetic engineering or GE) put up the billboards in the country's two main cities, acknowledging they were intended to "disturb."

The ads feature a naked woman on all fours, with four "breasts" connected to a milking machine, and the letters GE branded on her hip.

Alannah Currie of a group calling itself Mothers Against Genetic Engineering in Food and the Environment (Madge), said in a statement the billboards were meant to protest GM milk. "If they want to make designer milk, why not genetically engineer women for milk?" she asked.

But an organization called Life Sciences Network (LSN), which supports GM technology, slammed the campaign, calling it "bad-taste science fiction".

"Madge's latest gasp for public attention denigrates women and illustrates what little grasp this group has of reality," LSN chairman Dr. William Rolleston said in a statement.

He noted that the group last month lost a court challenge it had brought against a research organization, and had declared itself unable to pay 24,000 New Zealand dollars ($14,400) in costs.

"They have allowed this money to be used on advertising, knowing full well their $24,000 obligation to the court and they seem happy to offend New Zealanders in the process," Rolleston said.

"This action scrapes the bottom of the barrel in a campaign which has dwindling support. Madge should look in the mirror for examples of poor ethics."

Madge said supporters paid for the campaign.

In other reaction, a GM spokesman for a national farmers' group was quoted as calling the campaign contemptible and emotive.

The country's Advertising Standards Authority watchdog has received several complaints, secretary Glen Wiggs said Friday, adding that it was "early days yet" and more could be expected as written objections come in.

Currie said earlier that noone, other than perhaps "stupid white men," should be offended by the billboards.

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Patrick Goodenough
Patrick Goodenough
Spencer Journalism Fellow