Dr Neil Hudson, MP for Penrith and The Border and the only Veterinary Surgeon in the House of Commons, lent his expertise to a debate on the merits of the Government’s innovative new Genetic Technology (Precision Breeding) Bill, designed to revolutionise the agrifood industry.
Designed to unlock the wide-ranging benefits of new gene editing technologies, the bill is part of the Conservative Government’s drive to put the United Kingdom at the forefront of scientific research and innovation.
You can watch the full debate here.
Speaking afterwards, Dr Neil Hudson, MP for Penrith and The Border, said: “As a vet I was very happy again to speak in the Commons in support of this Genetic Technology Bill. I firmly believe it will really benefit both animal and human public health.
“We have an exciting opportunity to unlock the full might of the British scientific community and cement our place on the international stage as animal health and agrifood industry leaders.
“This proactive policy safeguards consumers while allowing innovations in animal health, farming productivity, environmental protection and much more.”
The technology in question allows scientists to alter genetic characteristics of plants and animals, in turn opening up myriad avenues to make species more resilient.
This gene editing process is not to be confused with genetic modification which introduces exogenous genetic material to plants and animals.
Dr Hudson stood up again in the Commons to hail the great potential of the Bill.
He pointed to the potential to develop resistance to diseases such as Avian Influenza that is currently ravaging the UK and Europe.
In turn this will lessen our need for veterinary medicines, benefitting human public health by combatting antimicrobial resistance.
Moreover, with food security again coming into sharp relief since the war in Ukraine, the scope to produce climate resilient and disease resistant crops will reduce our reliance on pesticides and fertiliser.
This will have a great impact on our precious environment and benefit our food producers.
The veterinary MP’s comments came during the Consideration of Lords Amendments late on Monday night.
This is one of the final stages of the legislative process where MPs debate and decide on changes made to a bill by the House of Lords.