UK: Soil Association calls for ban of pesticides
by Redaktion (comments: 0)
A group of insect-killing sprays known as neonicotinoids that are widely used in UK farming have been banned in four European countries (Italy, Germany, Slovenia and France) because they are thought to be killing bees. The Soil Association has written to Hilary Benn, the Secretary of State for the Environment, urging to ban the sprays in the UK with immediate effect. Britain’s beekeepers have reported that close to one in three hives have failed to make it through last winter and spring. The products implicated in bee deaths, clothianidin, imidacloprid, fipronil and thiamethoxam, are approved to kill insects on a wide range of crops in the UK, including very widely grown oilseed rape.
Since their introduction by Bayer CropScience in the USA in 2003, neonicotinoid sprays have been linked to the devastating loss of millions of honey bees in a number of countries. Germany banned the pesticides after beekeepers in Baden-Wuerttemberg reported that two thirds of their bees died in May following the application of clothianidin. In 1995, bee keepers in North Dakota took Bayer to court when a third of their bees were killed by imacloprid. In France, a third of the honey bee population was killed after widespread use of imidacloprid.
Organic farming relies on a number of techniques to avoid the use of sprays that kill insects, including not growing the same or similar crops every year, and encouraging natural predators of insect pests. Under Soil Association organic rules, only four sprays can be used, compared to over 300 available to non-organic farmers.
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