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GM Nation – Results

For the full report, please visit www.gmnation.org.uk/ut_09/ut_9_6.htm

  1. Click on the findings of the public debate
  2. Read the Executive summary
  3. Download a PDF of the full report (266KB)
  4. View supporting documents

On a whole series of questions GM-hostile majorities were enormous, with 85 per cent saying GM crops would benefit producers not ordinary people, 86 per cent saying they were unhappy with the idea of eating GM food, 91 per cent saying they thought GM had potential negative effects on the environment, and no fewer than 93 per cent of respondents saying they thought GM technology was driven more by the pursuit of profit than the public interest. Figures in support of GM were, by contrast, tiny.

Even special focus groups, deliberately selected from people who were uncommitted one way or another, to tease out the views of the “silent majority”, and whose members were initially prepared to admit the technology might have benefits, opposed GM technology more the more they learnt about it, the report discloses.

The general mood, the report said, “ranged from caution to doubt, through suspicion and scepticism, to hostility and rejection.” Professor Grant said: “I now look forward to the Government’s responding to the points raised in the debate, and taking these into account in the future formulation of policy on GM.”

GM Nation? By numbers

(from New Scientist)

Key messages from the report included:

  1. British people are generally uneasy about GM
  2. Finding out more simply deepened people’s concerns
  3. Few people support early commercialization, with more than half attending the debates saying they never wanted GM crops grown in the UK
  4. Widespread mistrust of government and multinational companies
  5. People want to know more, and crave a “corpus of agreed ‘facts’ accepted by all organisations and interests”
  6. Developing countries have special interests, but fairer trade rules would do more to eliminate hunger than GM crops

Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Margaret Beckett has said she will reflect carefully on the findings of GM Nation? – the GM public debate. She said:

“This debate was a new way of engaging the public in the policy-making process. Government provided the funding, and we demonstrated our good faith by appointing an independent steering board to manage the whole process. We said that we will listen, and we will.”

The Secretary of State has given a commitment that the Government will make a written response to the report and will indicate what has been learned from the debate when making future policy announcements on GM. The government has promised to consider the 40,000 public responses before deciding whether to go ahead with commercial GM crops.

The findings of the public [GM] debate can be seen in full at: www.gmpublicdebate.org/ut_09/ut_9_6.htm#download

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