EU residents fear that member states will undermine the ban on bee-killing neonicotinoids by opening door to harmful pesticides.
Tomorrow beekeepers and environmental groups will gather outside agriculture ministries across Europe to hand in a petition signed by over 220,000 SumOfUs members, demanding that the European Commission finally makes pesticide testing bee-friendly. These creative and visual events, led by groups and individuals working directly with embattled bees, aim to draw the attention of decision makers and compel them to listen to citizens all across Europe. The events are taking place in Berlin, Bucharest, Paris, Sofia, The Hague, London, Rome, Dublin, and Riga.
Invertebrate conservation charity Buglife will be taking the lead on the London hand-in to the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
The vote will happen on World Bee Day, on 20th May, at the European Commission’s Standing Committee on Plants, Animals, Food and Feed in Brussels. Member states could vote to raise pesticide testing standards, to match those used to ban three bee-killing neonicotinoid pesticides last year, and detailed in EFSA’s 2013 Bee Guidance document.
If they don’t, which campaigners fear is likely, new bee-killing pesticides will simply flood the market, rendering the much-celebrated neonic ban redundant. The campaigners say that to save the bees, the EU needs to outlaw all bee-killing pesticides, not just three.
“Citizens and beekeepers are causing a buzz this Thursday to give a voice to our endangered pollinator friends from Riga to Berlin, and Rome to Bucharest,” says Matt Shardlow, Buglife, Chief Executive. “Europe’s bees have been decimated by toxic pesticides, but on World Bee Day, our governments have the chance to vote for bee-saving, science-based pesticide standards using the Bee Guidance document.”
“European leaders must listen to the beekeepers taking to the streets and rise to the challenge to make the first World Bee Day an historic event. They cannot buckle to the pesticide industry lobbyists and miss a golden opportunity to save the bees and our food supply.”