TAKE ACTION – Make sure your MP understands the evidence on gene editing

November 1, 2021 by Staff Reporter

This week (1-5 November) is ‘Evidence Week’ in the Westminster Parliament. The idea is to highlight to parliamentarians and their staff the importance of evidence – how to sift it, assess it and use it – in effective policy making and legislation. This should be a core skill for decision-makers but a cursory glance at what goes on in Parliament shows that it isn’t.

We support the aims of Evidence Week, the problem is that it’s orchestrated by Sense About Science, an organisation we know to be biased in favour of genetic engineering.

Ever wondered why there is so much pro-GM stuff in the media? Sense About Science has longstanding ties with the pro-GM Science Media Centre, a group that is skilled at organising press briefings and feeding quotes from pro-GM bodies and individuals to the newspapers. Their reach into the UK media (and policymakers) is so deep that they are essentially a PR arm of the biotech industry and the pro-GMO research establishment.

Sense About Science is asking citizens to post questions on its website some of which will then be passed on to MPs in web events, briefings and closed meetings throughout the week (and amongst the briefing partners for Science Week is the John Innes Centre, which has a strong biotech breeding programme in the UK).

But at a moment when the debate around genetic engineering in food and farming is so urgent and precariously balanced (and so lacking in key ethical, socioeconomic and environmental evidence), when the UK government feels at liberty to ignore the views of the 86% of citizens who responded to its public consultation by indicating that gene editing must be regulated in the same way as GMOs, we don’t feel we can trust Evidence Week to put the right evidence before our Parliamentarians.

What we need you to do

During this coming week, we need all of our UK supporters to ask MPs key questions and highlight evidence which challenges the pro-GM government line.

We’ve made it simple and fast. Our new online platform gives you a direct link to your MP. If you live in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland please use the platform to email your representative in Westminster.

Go to this page. Once you have put your postcode in you will be directed to a page with three key questions for your MP. PICK ONE, copy and paste it into the email form on the page and press send.

If you feel confident you can also substitute a personalised question of your own and send it to your MP using our platform. Be brief, be polite but please do it today – and please also encourage your friends and family to do the same.

What we are doing

We will be emailing a copy of this brief, Key Issues in the Deregulation of Gene Editing produced by Beyond GM and GM Freeze, to every MP in the UK. We will also be sending them Beyond GM’s response to the Public Consultation on Genetic Technologies and our A Bigger Conversation analysis Policy and Regulation of New Genetic Technologies – Editing or Evisceration?

Let’s work together

Between us we can help raise the level of discussion around gene editing ahead of the government’s planned legislative changes to deregulate this technology and show that UK citizens are not willing to allow government to ignore them – or the evidence.