Across the UK, as you read this, millions of farmed animals may be suffering because they’ve been bred to grow too fast, give birth to too many offspring, or produce too much milk.
Now, the Government wants to permit gene editing. A technique that could speed up these ‘natural’ breeding processes. Please urge your MP to speak out on the risks to animal welfare in the Genetic Technology (Precision Breeding) Bill.
The Government claims that gene editing will “bolster food production” and “drive economic growth”.
This is precisely the sort of language used to justify existing factory farms. And there’s a real risk this technology could be used to push animals to even faster growth or higher yields.
It’s also claimed that gene editing for disease resistance could benefit animal welfare. But this may instead be used to mask the effects of crowded, stressful farming conditions. It could, in short, perpetuate animal cruelty.
This new Bill will initially make it easier to gene-edit crops and animal feed. But it will also allow the Government to later introduce precision breeding of animals, by changing existing regulations, without a new vote in Parliament.
Ministers claim they’ll put in place measures to protect animal welfare. But they’ve not explained how, and the few safeguards included in the Bill are totally inadequate.
Please ask your MP to speak out when the Precision Breeding Bill reaches the House of Commons on 14th June. This new law must not perpetuate inhumane, unethical factory farming.
On 28th April, because of campaigners like you, animals were finally recognised in UK law as sentient beings. As a result, Government policies will be required to have “all due regard” to animal welfare. Yet, already, the gene editing Bill seems set to break this rule. Please urge your MP to act today.