Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Bee Apocalypse: France Bans Bee Killing Pesticides

22 March, 2016

France is the first nation in Europe to act to ban the bee killing pesticides, neonicotinoids. While the EU's ruling bureaucracy has pressured member nations to go with the pesticides, and with glysophate (brand name Roundup) associated with Genetically modified food crops but recently named as a likely cancer causing agent in humans by the world health organisation, the French farmers, a powerful enough lobby to take on corporate fascism (and not adverse to spraying government offices with slurry from cattle and pig farms) have won the day on pesticides at least.

French legislators have just approved plans to totally ban some widely used pesticides blamed for harming bees, going above and beyond European Union (EU) restrictions.

Two years ago the EU limited the use of neonicotinoid chemicals, commonly known as neonics, produced by companies including Bayer CropScience and Syngenta, after studies showed the pesticides threatened bees, which play a vital role in pollinating crops. The agrotech giants have argued that the research blaming neonics is not backed up by field studies, and a worldwide drop in bee numbers in recent years is caused by a wide array of factors.

Bayer called the French ban a setback to farmers in a statement, adding: “Some farmers are going to find themselves in a dead-end regarding crop protection … and could see their harvests fall by 15 to 40 percent depending on the crop.”

France’s National Assembly passed the ban by a narrow majority late Thursday as part of a draft bill on biodiversity that also places an additional tax on palm oil. The bill would not go into effect until September 1, 2018, later than the January 2017 deadline that some lawmakers had proposed.

The proposed neonicotinoid ban, supported by France’s environment minister, must still clear the regulatory hurdle of passing before the French Senate, before a final vote in the National Assembly is expected mid-year.

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