Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/764/16647
Big business threatens bees
Bee, photo USDA Photo by Jack Dykinga
The Con-Dem government has been accused of bowing to the agrochemical industry, supporting bad science, and threatening food production around the world.
Prime Minister David Cameron, 'life patron' of the Oxfordshire Beekeepers' Association - but now apparently dismissed from that position - led his government to vote against a ban on a group of pesticides called neonicotinoids which are suspected of killing bees in huge numbers.
Bees, which pollinate 71 out of the 100 most common crops, providing 90% of food in 146 countries, are facing a massive decline in numbers.
Six species of bumblebees have declined by 80% and most species are declining, while 35 British bee species are considered to be at risk of extinction.
By far the worst culprits are neonicotinoids, developed originally by the oil company Shell, which have been identified as causing colony collapse disorder - the complete destruction of bee colonies.
Big business is playing its usual hand against science - just like the dishonest campaign waged by the tobacco industry against the overwhelming scientific evidence that cigarette smoking causes cancer.
Claims by the government's Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), that the scientific evidence against neonicotinoids is inconclusive, are backed up by grand sounding research institutes set up by the pesticides industry to confuse the issue.
This Machiavellian nonsense is familiar to climate change scientists battling against oil company-backed fake climate change sceptics.
The European Food Safety Authority has stated that neonicotinoids pose an unacceptably high risk to bees, and that the industry-sponsored science upon which regulatory agencies' claims of safety have relied on may be flawed.
The US government's mis-named Environment Protection Agency is being sued by beekeepers for failing to ban the pesticide.
Friends of the Earth said: "It's very clear that some of the large farming interests and chemical companies have been lobbying very hard." In reality, they are pushing at an open door with this big-business government.
In The Socialist 8 May 2013:
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