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Beekeepers, environmental NGOs and civil right groups demand that Syngenta, Bayer and BASF stop killing bees


Belgium - 29/04/2014

A Europe-wide Alliance to Save the Bees and Agriculture today made themselves heard at the annual general meetings (AGMs) of Syngenta and Bayer to demand the agrochemical companies acknowledge their role in global bee-decline and step away from threatening EU-imposed legislation against neonicotinoid pesticides which harm bees.




 While beekeepers and ecological farming activists as part of the Alliance to Save the Bees and Agriculture [1] greet shareholders to their AGM with flyers and brochures which highlight the ongoing pollinator and agriculture crisis, representatives of the Alliance to Save the Bees and Agriculture are openly challenging the presidents of the companies within the meetings themselves. Mr. Michel Demaré (Syngenta) and Mr. Dr. Marijn Dekkers (Bayer) are being confronted with their role regarding bee-decline and are asked to stop the marketing of bee-harming pesticides. Rather than promoting destructive, chemical-intensive industrial agriculture methods they should enable ecological farming [2].


 Speaking at the Syngenta AGM, Francesco Panella, head of delegation and president of BeeLife European Beekeeping Coordination, said: “It is insulting how Syngenta, Bayer and BASF try to persuade beekeepers like ourselves that bee decline is caused by the Varroa mite or malnutrition or any other factor outside of their own responsibility. At the same time, they continue to sell bee-killing pesticides and attack EU provisions aimed at protecting bees. This is hypocritical, self-serving and shortsighted. It is time to switch from the current chemical-intensive agriculture paradigm to one which is compatible with biodiversity and beekeeping.”


Matthias Wüthrich, Ecological farming campaigner and European bees project leader at Greenpeace Switzerland, said: “The agrochemical companies - producers of the worst beekilling-pesticides - are desperately fighting against the EU-wide temporary ban of their best-selling pesticides. They represent a failing system of chemical-intensive, monoculture-style agriculture that leads to a loss of biodiversity and essential eco-functions like bee-pollination. But more and more people are standing up against this chemical-intensive agricultural model and demanding a shift towards ecological practices that produce healthy food for future generations. Greenpeace and the Alliance to Save the Bees and Agriculture are here today in their behalf. We demand Bayer, Syngenta and BASF to withdraw their legal attack against the neonicotinoid bans imposed by European authorities and re-think their chemical-intensive agri-business model [that is] causing unacceptable damages to bees, people and the planet.”


In order to expose the toxic PR of the agrochemical companies aimed at defending their bee-killing agribusiness with exaggerated figures and scaremongering scenarios about the consequences of the neonicotinoid ban (including extreme yield-drops and unbearable job-losses in Europe), Greenpeace released the report “Corporate Science Fiction”, a critical assessment of Bayer and Syngenta’s attempts to influence the scientific, political and public debate on neonicotinoid pesticides. [3]


 Contacts:


Francesco Panella - Beekeeper and president of BeeLife European Beekeeping Coordination (Italian/French): +39 335 627 94 01;  +32 10 47 34 16


 


Notes:


[1] The Alliance to Save the Bees and Agriculture consists of more than 50 European beekeeping and farmer associations, environmental and human rights organisations, consumers and slow food groups as well as independent research institutes. It was founded for the nomination of Bayer, Syngenta, BASF for the public eye awards 2014 .


[2] Ecological farming ensures healthy farming and healthy food for today and tomorrow, by protecting soil, water and climate, promotes biodiversity, and does not contaminate the environment with chemical inputs or genetically engineered organisms.


[3] Greenpeace Germany 2014: “Corporate science fiction - A critical assessment of a Bayer and Syngenta funded HFFA report on neonicotinoid pesticides”


 




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