“Groups: Beware Call for a ‘Greener Revolution’ From ‘Purveyor of Poison’,” by Andrea Germanos
An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:
Environmental groups are slamming a call for a “Greener Revolution” from a corporation they call a “purveyor of poison” as a plan for corporate profits above the needs of farmers and the environment, when the kind of real revolution needed in agriculture lies outside of the very agribusinesses that created the problems we have…
For organic-proponents like [Ronnie] Cummins, the corporation leaves little to love.
“Whether selling neonicotinoid insecticides that are killing off the word’s bees, pushing controversial and hazardous genetically engineered crops, or contributing large sums of money to defeat the California Ballot initiative to label GMO foods, Bayer is quickly joining Monsanto as one of the most hated corporations on Earth,” said Cummins.
Did someone mention bees?
“Beekeepers appeared in front of the Petitions Committee today to highlight the real threats to their industry and livelihoods. One petition highlights the sharp rise in mortality among bees in the EU due to the extensive use of pesticides and the other asks for the protection of bees and beekeepers from GMO contamination.”
* “Death knell for nerve agent pesticides in move to save bees,” by Charlie Cooper
“Friends of the Earth called for the Government to “urgently remove” the named chemicals – clothianidin, thiamethoxam and imidacloprid – from sale in the UK
““We can’t afford to dither when it comes to protecting these key pollinators,” said director Andy Atkins, director of Friends of the Earth. “Ministers must urgently remove these dangerous chemicals from sale, overhaul inadequate pesticide safety tests and ensure farmers have access to safe, effective alternatives to enable them to produce food without harming our bees.”
“However, manufacturers were quick to downplay the significance of the EFSA [European Food Safety Authority] report and claimed that banning the chemicals would have dire consequences for the farming industry.
“Bayer, which makes the world’s most widely-used insecticide imidacloprid, warned against “over-interpretation of the precautionary principle” and said “multiple factors” were behind bee colony losses…
“The EFSA report concluded that, due to risk of exposure from pollen and nectar, the use of the three neonicotinoid chemicals was unacceptable on crops attractive to honey bees. The use of the insecticides on crops planted in greenhouses also posed a risk to bees by exposure by dust, the report said.
“The report stopped short of recommending a ban on the chemicals but urged further investigation into the risks, particularly to other pollinators such as bumble bees, butterflies and moths, pointing out that the findings only looked at the impact on honey bees.
“Bans on some neonicotinoid products have already been introduced in France, Germany and Slovenia.”
* “Crop pesticides are ‘killing our bees’ – says MEP,” by Chris Davies
“Why are bees dying? Since 1994, when French beekeepers began to report that honeybees were not returning to their hives or were behaving in an abnormal and disorientated way, stories of declining number of bees and even of complete colony collapse have become commonplace across Europe. It is upsetting and worrying. Hardworking bees are much loved, competing only with butterflies in the insect popularity stakes and their role as pollinators has enormous commercial value.
“The finger of suspicion had been pointed at certain best-selling neonicotinoid pesticides widely used in seed-dressing and soil treatment but also for spraying. The evidence is not conclusive but it is starting to look damning. It is not that they are necessarily lethal to bees but that they are sub-lethal, weakening the bees’ resistance to disease and reducing their rate of reproductivity. Perhaps, they also destroy the bees’ sense of direction – making it impossible for them to locate their hive after foraging.
“The concerns are not new. The French government introduced restrictions on the use of a neonicotinoid seed dressing – ‘Gaucho’ – back in 1999. Slovenia has since introduced complete prohibitions. Germany and Italy have imposed various restrictions, with the latter subsequently reporting a remarkable fall in the number of cases of bee deaths recorded. But coordinated action at a European level has been missing…
“Even by the usual standards of industry lobbying, it seems an extreme position to take in view of the scientific evidence now coming to the fore. Perhaps the manufacturers, who claim that an European Union-wide ban on neonicotinoids would cost €17bn over 5 years, are concerned that more attention may be paid to some of the figures from France and Italy. The figures suggest that crop production has hardly been affected in those places where neonicotinoid restrictions have been introduced.”
* “Pesticides pose danger to bees,” by Dave Keating
“EFSA [European Food Safety Authority] was tasked by the European Commission’s health department to review the risks of neonicotinoids after a series of reports, including one conducted by Austria’s environment agency for the European Parliament, recommended that the insecticides be banned.
“Anti-pesticide NGO PAN Europe called on Tonio Borg, the new European commissioner for health and consumer policy, to immediately propose to withdraw the neonicotinoids from the EU market in response to the EFSA report. “Legally Mr Borg has no other option since the pesticide [EU law] requires good evidence that no unacceptable effects for bees are posed,” said the group’s honeybee project co-ordinator Martin Dermine. If no ban is proposed the group will consider taking the Commission to court.”