Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Pollinator Protection - Europe Shows Us How It's Done

Dear Editor, 





Oh, to be in Europe, now that they have put us to shame, once again! 

Member states of the European Union have just voted to clamp a temporary (2 year) ban on members of that "devil family" of bee-killing insecticides known as "neonicotinoids." It is now illegal to use the stuff anywhere over that entire continent! While Europe has finally seen the light, they're still applied prodigiously on food crops in North America. The seeds of crops such as corn and canola are now shot-full of them before they even go into the ground!
  I guess authorities here and chemical giants like Bayer (which make these poisons) don't want us to know certain things. For example, when Italy acted on its own and banned them a few years ago, pollinator populations bounced back the following season, with little or no effect on crop production!

A year ago, during corn planting season in Ontario and Quebec, there were well over 200 separate complaints from beekeepers of honey bee kills. Government "regulators" have responded by promising to "review" the complaints and possibly "tighten up" the warning labels on the products! How courageous of them! How decisive!

In the 'States last year, commercial beekeepers report they lost up to one half of their hives. 

Authorities described honeybee losses in Canada during the winter of 2010-11 as "drastic" and "extreme." The following winter, they were much better.  Still, given the "wild west" mentality that prevails in this country, and the resurgence of corn (treated with you-know-what) as a livestock feed on the prairies as well as central Canada, it's hard to imagine how that state of affairs can continue.

From the aspect of food production, the stakes could not be higher. Pollinators, mainly honey bees, but also wild bumble bees, butterflies, bats and hummingbirds - all of which are on the decline, worldwide - fertilize hundreds of fruits and vegetables, making their reproduction possible. Without them, our food choices would be reduced by fully one-third. We, along with wildlife and livestock, would have to get by with the likes of rice and wheat, and without things like strawberries and tomatoes! 

A bleak prospect, indeed.

Larry Powell
Roblin, Manitoba 

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