BBC presenter Chris Packham has come under fire on Twitter for the second time in weeks for using his platform on the social media site to encourage people to support a ban on ‘toxic’ glyphosate.
When challenged, Mr Packham, who has 178,000 followers on Twitter, posted a link to a recent study on glyphosate which claimed to show a link between the chemical and liver disease and urged people not to be persuaded by ‘industry propaganda’.
Rather than industry propaganda here is a little actual science about the potential dangers of Glyphosate t.co/4CKh9htRXU— Chris Packham (@ChrisGPackham)
Scientists have already begun to question the validity of the results of the study referred to by Mr Packham as it relied on samples from another piece of research which was widely criticised for its methods.
Despite counter-argument from farmers and others, Mr Packham doubled-down on his position and took aim at the NFU for its infographic about the benefits of using glyphosate.
He fired off a further set of tweets linking to an article on www.ethicalconsumer.org that branded the NFU an ‘anti-environmental, agribusiness lobby group’ which ‘appears unconcerned about scientific evidence or the opinions of the general public’.
The NFU has responded on Twitter with further information about the safety of glyphosate.
Vice president Guy Smith has also said the Ethical Consumer article is “riddled with inaccuracies, contains out of date information, and is simply wrong on many occasions.”
Ethical Consumer promotes a variety of boycotts, including against Amazon, for its ‘dodgy and unfair tax policy’, against Boots, Unilever, L’Oreal and Nestle for their ‘poor record on animal testing’ and the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement designed to ‘de-legitimise Israel as an apartheid state.’
It is also a member of ‘Team Badger’, which campaigns to stop the cull of badgers in England.
Would you like to know about some of the people who hold sway over the future health of our landscape ? Then read t.co/kak9tfzlz4— Chris Packham (@ChrisGPackham)
Signposting his followers to a website with such a strong political stance is sure to call into question Mr Packham’s impartiality as a BBC presenter.
AHDB chairman and former NFU president Peter Kendall has already expressed frustration that he continues to be employed by the BBC.
And he’s still being employed by the BBC! t.co/iWqpon3Bn3— Peter Kendall (@pkendallfarm)
What do you think? Has Mr Packham breached BBC rules on impartiality? Let us know.
An NFU spokesman said: “This is not the first time Chris Packham has used his public profile as a platform to make statements in support of causes he feels strongly about.
“In 2013 we understand he was spoken to by the BBC after he posted a series of tweets against the badger cull around the time culling started. And earlier this year he was forced to post a clarification on his Twitter account after an inaccurate tweet was posted about lapwings being shot in the UK.
“Regulatory bodies around the world have looked at the evidence surrounding glyphosate and concluded it poses little or no risk to people in their everyday lives when used correctly. Debates about the future of products like glyphosate need to be based on science and evidence, not on the opinions of people who dismiss information that doesn’t support their position as “industry propaganda”.
“In one of his tweets about glyphosate Mr Packham refers to a report by Ethical Consumer about the NFU. This is a report riddled with inaccuracies and out of date information that was produced by an organisation that has actively campaigned against the badger cull and has called on shoppers to stop buying dairy products. This can hardly be viewed as impartial, objective research.
“We will be contacting the BBC to get a clear understanding of its position in employing someone who clearly has very strong views on issues but is consistently portrayed as an impartial expert.”