BBSRC and Rothamsted Research statements on protest in Rothamsted Park
27 May 2012
Statement from BBSRC
Professor Douglas Kell, BBSRC Chief Executive, said: “Now that the protest at Rothamsted has ended peacefully I hope that the BBSRC-funded scientists can be allowed to complete their project without the ongoing threat that their work will be destroyed.
As scientists, we do not claim to have all the answers. However, our scientific community must be able to conduct regulated and approved trials and experiments without the threat of vandalism hanging over them. Everyone involved in all sides of the GM debate wants answers to questions. We will only get these by completing the research.
We understand that some people do not agree with this research and we support and encourage our funded scientists to engage with a range of views around their work. I hope that the critics of the Rothamsted trial will now be willing to engage the scientists in a discussion about their specific concerns – but without leaving the threat of vandalism of their work hanging over them.
The UK has a world-leading bioscience community that can help us to overcome many of the serious issues we face now and in the coming years. Sustainably feeding the world’s growing population is one of the most critical.”
Statement from Rothamsted Research
We are pleased that the protest in Rothamsted Park this afternoon has been peaceful and that both supporters and opponents had the chance to make their voices heard.
We have worked closely with the Hertfordshire Constabulary and are very grateful for their support to protect any illegal damage to our experiments and facilitating this peaceful protest.
The police and security response was necessary to prevent the destruction of our work and, with the constant threats to "decontaminate” our experiment as well as the vandalism last weekend, it was important to ensure a safe afternoon for our staff, visitors and protestors alike.
We hope we can now proceed with this BBSRC-funded project without any further threats to find some answers to the question of reducing the use of harmful insecticides in wheat crops, benefitting future generations and the environment.
Rothamsted Research remains committed to engaging people with a diversity of views around our work and is still willing to engage in a discussion with people about any issues around our work.
About Rothamsted Research
Rothamsted Research, the longest running agricultural research station in the world, providing cutting-edge science and innovation for nearly 170 years. It receives strategic funding from BBSRC to deliver the knowledge and new practices to increase crop productivity and quality and to develop environmentally sustainable solutions for food and energy production.
The field trial at Rothamsted Research uses modified what to deter aphids, an insect pest which can seriously damage wheat crops. It is funded by BBSRC. For more information see: www.rothamsted.ac.uk/aphidwheat.
BBSRC invests in world-class bioscience research and training on behalf of the UK public. Our aim is to further scientific knowledge, to promote economic growth, wealth and job creation and to improve quality of life in the UK and beyond.
Funded by Government, and with an annual budget of around £445M, we support research and training in universities and strategically funded institutes. BBSRC research and the people we fund are helping society to meet major challenges, including food security, green energy and healthier, longer lives. Our investments underpin important UK economic sectors, such as farming, food, industrial biotechnology and pharmaceuticals.