Short statement on Defra ‘gene technology’ consultation

In Statement by Agroecology Now

The Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) is currently running an online consultation on the ‘regulation of genetic technologies’, due to close on March 17th. We stand with a number of environmental and farming groups who have criticised the consultation for its poor timing, biased framing and opaque language. 

As these groups rightly point out, the unknown and potentially far-reaching consequences of these technologies demands a careful and inclusive consultation process. What Defra has presented falls far short of this. At Agroecology Now! we share the concerns of peasant movements and civil society organizations on the deregulation of experimental, risky and unproven technologies such as gene editing. For this reason, we will respond to the Defra gene technology consultation, and encourage you to do the same. 

For more information on this, please see the excellent work being undertaken by (among others) The Landworkers’ Alliance, Beyond GM, GM Freeze and the European Greens. The ETC Group and A Bigger Conversation also ran a farmers’ assembly last week which is well worth a watch to better understand why many farmers stand for strict regulation of old as well as new GMOs. Given the highly contentious nature of this deregulation and the magnitude of the consequences, we call for a much more extensive, meaningful and measured period of consultation and debate accessible to diverse stakeholders and publics.