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A major opportunity to protect our bees
Mar 14, 2013

A major opportunity to protect our bees

By EJF Staff

Tomorrow the European Union will vote on whether to ban the deadly neonicotinoid pesticides which scientists widely agree are contributing to the decline in bee populations.

A comprehensive scientific review by the EU Food Safety Agency concluded that neonicotinoid pesticides pose 'high acute risks' to honey bees.

In February, EJF and PAN UK wrote a letter urging the Environment Secretary Owen Paterson to support the European Commission's proposed restrictions on neonicotinoid use, and an open letter signed by EJF, PAN UK, Friends of the Earth, RSPB, The Wildlife Trusts, BugLife, the Soil Association, Scottish Wildlife Trust and Client Earth was published in the Daily Telegraph yesterday.

Today, however, the Guardian reports that the Environment Secretary is not predicted to support the proposal, despite the level of action taken by the public in defence of bees, through communities such as Avaaz.org.

Bees and other pollinators play a vital role in food production as well as being an integral part of natural ecosystems. The costs of losing them would far outweigh the costs of altering farming to avoid the most dangerous uses of neonicotinoid pesticides.

"Tomorrow's European vote to potentially restrict the use of neonicotinoid pesticides represents a majoy opportunity to protect the UK's vital pollinators. It is a moment for real and meaningful action to be taken to halt the worrying decline in bee numbers, which would have catastrophic consequences for the UK's evvironment and economy. It is crucial that the Government and Defra don't choose to ignore the overwhelming scientific evidence of the threat these chemicals pose to honeybees and other pollinators." Steve Trent, Executive Director of EJF

To encourage as many people as possible to personally ask the EU Minsters for Agriculture to restrict the use of neonicotinoid pesticides, www.Avaaz.org have enabled direct messages to be sent through their website. They have already delivered 300,000 messages and are aiming for 500,000 to be delivered ahead of the vote tomorrow.

www.avaaz.org/bees_messages

We are hoping that Owen Paterson and the UK Government will listen to the overwhelming public and scientific support and act in favour of bees tomorrow. You can call Defra direct, 8am-6pm, on 08459 33 55 77.