Genetic engineering: Petition to strengthen independent risk research

German civil society groups urge parliament and the government to fight the influence of industry

16. May 2013

Today a broad coalition of civil society groups in Germany are starting a petition calling on the German Parliament to strengthen the position of independent risk research especially in the field of biotechnology. “Despite criticism raised by many sides, the German government has not yet taken any action. Our petition gives the German parliament an opportunity to send a clear signal”, says Ruth Tippe for the Gene-Ethic Foundation which officially filed the petition.

The text of the petition calls for an in-depth investigation of the independence of the German authorities involved in risk assessment and risk research in genetic engineering. Amongst others, lobby control groups have criticised both a lack of transparency and conflicts of interest but the German government has so far refuted these allegations.

“Especially in controversial fields of technology such as biotechnology, it is very important to establish independent risk assessment that is not influenced by biased interests of industry. Conflicts of interests need to be avoided. We need clear regulations and transparency”, says Timo Lange for LobbyControl.

The coalition of German groups also is demanding a re-organisation of funding for public research. Companies selling products derived from risky technologies should contribute to a publicly organised fund. Decisions on the usage of such funds should be made with the active participation of non- governmental organizations, whose purpose is to protect consumers and the environment.

The petition can be signed by Geman citizens online or offline until 11 June 2013. It is supported by Arbeitsgemeinschaft bäuerliche Landwirtschaft (AbL), Bund für Umwelt und Naturschutz Deutschland (BUND), Bund Ökologische Lebensmittelwirtschaft (BÖLW), Stiftung GEKKO, Gen ethisches Netzwerk, Gen-ethische Stiftung, Gesellschaft für ökologische Forschung, Lobby Control, Manfred Hermsen Stiftung, Mellifera, Naturschutzbund (NABU), Sambucus, Save our Seeds (SOS) and Testbiotech.

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