Originally published on 11 August 2015.
TRANSHUMANIST UK PRESS RELEASE
Why the Scottish ban on GM is bad for Scotland and the UK
The recent announcement by MSP Richard Lochhead to ban the growing of Genetically Modified crops in Scotland is short-sighted. By banning GM crop growing Scotland is announcing its intention to rely solely on outdated, cumbersome and increasingly non-competitive “natural” methods. Indeed, this ban will more than likely increase the potential for negative impact on the very industries we wish to preserve, making the very “gamble” that Mr Lochhead says he wishes to avoid.
In an age of accelerating technological progress, this announcement appears to be anti-science and thus anti-progress, which may have far reaching effects beyond the Scottish border. It announces to the world that Britain is insular and unable to compete, converse or engage in this area, when biotechnology research is arguably one of the UK’s greatest assets. There is no scientific evidence to support the assertion that GM crop production has a negative impact on the environment or human health, so this announcement has no basis in fact and panders only to anti-technology extremists.
Climate change is another factor we should consider, having an impact that is not yet fully understood, and GM crops have the potential to vouchsafe the future of food production in Britain, by allowing us to control the evolution of crops in response to radical changes in climate before they occur.
We acknowledge that sometimes the business of trading in GM crops is not approached ethically (e.g. encouraging reliance on a few large companies for seed every season), so greater and more carefully considered regulation of GM crop business is warranted. The use of these technologies should be judged on a case by case basis however, rather than simply banned altogether.
Transhumanist UK leader Amon Twyman says, “Transhumanist UK fully supports well-regulated GM crop production, and the progress being made in the biotechnology industries to provide Great Britain with methods of sustainable agriculture. We call for Mr Lochhead to reassess the Scottish position on GM crops after a balanced review of the scientific evidence.”