Putting the pesticides industry in charge of protecting bees, is like putting a fox in charge of a henhouse. – Alice Jay, campaign director, Avaaz.org
The heat is on Syngenta and Bayer CropScience, makers of neonicotinoid insecticides, which are heavily indicated in sharp bee decline as each new study proves. The EU is still discussing a ban and the EPA is being sued for allowing the manufacturers conditional registration of their class of chemicals which include clothianidin and imidacloprid – also acutely deadly to bees. Both governmental authorities appear to have catered to corporate influence at the expense of the bee population and the future of crops.
Alice Jay of Avaaz activist group said:
No one knows for certain what’s killing our bees, but leading scientists have powerful evidence pointing to these pesticides. Protecting bees and our countryside must come before the profits of the pesticide industry.
It’s true, pesticides are actually only one of 7 or 8 culprits in the last decade’s rapid bee decline. But Syngenta and Bayer are under fire as more proof surfaces and must do something to save face in the brewing PR storm. They still hold that the pesticide hazards are “unproven” and that a ban would hurt the EU economy — so they proposed a plan to help.
Syngenta chief operating officer said:
What is their “comprehensive” plan? Guardian UK reports:
Their plan includes the planting of more flowering margins around fields to provide bee habitats as well as monitoring to detect the neonicotinoid pesticides blamed for their decline and more research into the impact of parasites and viruses.
So there you have it – world food crisis solved. More $$ into research, let the pesticide industry monitor them, and give them some flowers. Sounds like an abusive relationship.
Ruediger Scheitza, head of strategy at Bayer CropScience says:
Even though all the evidence points to various parasites and diseases being the true cause of poor bee health, we are keen to do everything in our power to give consumers confidence in our products.
The parasites and disease are ushered in by the bees’ weakened immune systems brought on by chemical exposure among other things. They need gut health to withstand harmful invaders, but the chemicals are specifically designed to destroy the stomachs of insects. Their brains are thrown off and they don’t return home, which is why offering more flowers for more habitats is absurd – oh, and let’s place them right next to the spraying fields while we’re at it.
It is clearly a desperate attempt to negotiate before they see a decline in profits. It’s like letting a criminal free to commit more crimes and offer his own restitution to the dead. They propose more money into more technologies to reduce dust emissions from planting, but the chemicals are systemic – the neonicotinoids end up in the pollen, nectar, and corn used for high fructose corn syrup which often gets fed to them. They offer to spend more on research to fight bee parasites. What do you think this will include? More patents, more pseudo-charity, more product lines.
Syngenta and Bayer’s studies try to prove a drop in farming profits concluding economic devastation in the EU. But there are already farming losses due to bee decline. The US and UK have seen a 50% bee drop-off in the last 25 years. They pollinate to create 3/4 of the world’s food crops.
If nothing else, it’s time to stop letting the corporate toxin makers negotiate their way out and tell us it’s all in our heads. Remember: neonicotinoids were their answer to the slightly more toxic organophosphates, and those were the answer to the slightly more dangerous compounds of DDT.
There is no more room for compromise.
To read more and see how to help by becoming a beekeeper, see:
Image: Modified by author, original: http://cascadiansourcecenter.com/photo/gas-mask-on-bee
Read other articles by Heather Callaghan