Wildlife Destroying Sheep Dip Finally Withdrawn
Buglife is delighted that finally the Government and manufacturers of Cypermethrin sheep dip have today announced the withdrawal of all relevant product permissions.
3rd March 2010
Synthetic pyrethroids (Cypermethrin) were 1000 times more toxic to wildlife than the pesticides that farmers were previously using to dip sheep. When it was in use it was estimated that about 1.5 billion animals in rivers, streams and ponds were being killed by Cypermethrin sheep dip every year. In addition 400 million litres of waste Cypermethrin was sprayed onto meadows and fields every year, causing untold destruction to butterflies and bees.
|Sheep on grazing marsh © Roger Key|
Following a campaign led by Buglife and fishing charities to ban sheep dipping with synthetic pyrethroids, the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) suspended the license to sell synthetic pyrethroid for sheep dipping on environmental grounds on 22nd February 2006. It has taken a further four years to make the ban permanent.
Studies coordinated by the Environment Agency and Veterinary Medicines Directive then revealed that the chemical was even more deadly than had been feared. It was found that just a single sheep walking through water 9 cm deep two days after it had been dipped released so much Cypermethrin that it would cause a pollution event in a stream.
"This is a salutary tale that the medicines and pesticides we use can be very damaging to the environment; unless we are more careful we will undermine the bedrock of the living world upon which we rely" said Matt Shardlow, Chief Executive of Buglife.